How do you choose between two no-hitters?
That's like asking how you choose between two great works on the wall of an art gallery.
In the case of the Pitching Performance of the Month presented by Head & Shoulders, you leave it up to MLB.com voters.
Tim Lincecum's July 13 no-hitter for the Giants drew nearly twice as many votes (61 percent) as Homer Bailey's July 2 gem for the Reds (32 percent), emphatically deciding the award for July.
Of the other two nominees selected by an MLB.com editorial panel, Jose Fernandez of the Marlins received five percent of the vote and Zack Greinke of the Dodgers came in at two percent. No no-no, no competition.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Lincecum said moments after striking out 13 Padres at Petco Park, "but I don't think I've really taken in the whole idea of what just happened."
Voters certainly formed their own opinions. But how? Both no-hitters won free pizzas for thousands with a Domino's promotion, so you can throw out the gastronomic factor. Was it just a matter of recent memory, as Lincecum's effort was more recent?
No, there were other likely reasons. First of all, Lincecum gave us a sudden and thrilling flashback to his Freak form, a reminder of the guy who won the 2010 World Series Most Valuable Player Award. In addition, Bailey had been there before, throwing the final no-no of 2012. Lastly, let's face it: Giants fans seem to have mastered social media campaigning, as we have seen in the past during All-Star balloting.
So if voters can declare one no-hitter twice as good as another, who are we to argue? Lincecum had four more strikeouts than Bailey, but Bailey had superior control, walking only one compared to Lincecum's four. The only baserunner Bailey allowed was Gregor Blanco on a walk in the seventh.
The vote is over, but the debate can go on.
Meanwhile, Fernandez and Greinke also gave historical performances.
The former struck out 13 Pirates without issuing a walk on July 28 in Miami. The Marlins rookie became the eighth pitcher since 1916 to have a game with at least 13 strikeouts and no free passes within his first 20 outings.
The latter pitched a two-hit shutout against the Rockies on July 13, the same day as Lincecum's masterpiece. For Greinke, it marked the 28th time since 1916 that a Dodgers pitcher went the distance in a 1-0 win while allowing two hits or fewer.
This award is all about strikeout magic, part of the ongoing Season of the #Whiff campaign. In addition to voting for the monthly award, you can be part of Season of the #Whiff around the clock. See a whiff, tweet a #Whiff to @HSforMen, and you will have a chance to win exciting prizes from your favorite team.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.