A perfect example of Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey came Wednesday night against the Florida Marlins. The frustration fans have felt about this guy is back.
We all thought he had turned the corner. We all thought the former phenom finally "got it." We all thought the Reds had found a solid starter for the next 10 years.
Looks like we were wrong.
Sure, the season is still in its infancy, and the marathon is still in the first mile, but so far Bailey has shown he is still not there yet.
After the Reds won back-to-back extra-inning games against the Marlins, the bullpen needed some rest for game three of the series on Wednesday. The 'pen had pitched a combined 10 innings in two days, and there isn't a day off till Monday.
Bailey knew he needed to give his teammates a break—so he promptly labored through two innings and 47 pitches, giving up two runs in the process. It could've been more if it wasn't for some defensive brilliance by 3B Scott Rolen and SS Paul Janish.
His final line: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 115 pitches with the Reds down 5-1.
It seems that he tries too hard to aim the ball. He rarely hit the spot where C Ramon Hernandez placed his glove. He would get behind in the count and try to force a fastball on the corner that would get smoked by a Marlin slugger.
He still thinks he can overpower major league hitters the same way he could in AAA. Sorry Homer—you're not that good.
Sure, he was 6-1 with a 1.71 ERA down the stretch last year. But nobody remembers that four of the wins were against the AAAA Pittsburgh Pirates—not to mention the fact of how little the games meant in the standings. I still wasn't convinced that he could pitch well when the games actually mattered.
Much had been made about a splitter he learned during a stint in AAA Louisville last year. Adding a fourth pitch was just what the doctor ordered. Well, Homer himself said that wasn't the case. He only uses it three to four pitches a game and the effectiveness is questionable.
Sure, he is only 23. He pitched okay in his first start (5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 106 pitches, plus a balk and two wild pitches).
On the season Bailey has given up 15 hits and five walks, hit two batters, and given up runs in eight of his 10.1 innings.
He is not being efficient with his pitches. He is not consistently throwing strikes. He is not doing the in-game adjustments Reds fans assumed he was ready to do on a regular basis.
It's not time to wave the white flag on Bailey yet—but the Reds don’t need to show much patience, not with Aroldis Chapman and Travis Wood ready, as well as Matt Maloney and Justin Lehr. Don't forget about Edinson Volquez either when he returns from Tommy John surgery in July.
If Bailey doesn't shape up in his next two starts...let Chapmania begin!
BTW: Reds and Astros are the only two teams without a win by a starting pitcher.