Those in attendance at Great American Ball Park on Sunday afternoon bore witness to the Homer Bailey show, as he carried the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, nearly single-handedly.
Firing the most pitches any Reds starter has on the season to date, Bailey’s 121 came off the hand quite fluidly. In fact, were it not a save situation, manager Bryan Price may have had an inkling to send Bailey back out to finish what he had started.
The only speed bump all afternoon long for Bailey would come in the third inning when he once again fell behind Phillies leadoff man, Ben Revere. Known for his daring speed, Revere singled to get the inning going before swiping third and putting Philadelphia in a prime position to score. He would come around on Chase Utley’s sacrifice fly—the only run they would push across all afternoon long.
Through the front three innings, Bailey would strike out five opposing batters. Over his final five, he would adapt and strike out just two, but pitch even more efficiently.
On the hill for the Phillies was David Buchanan, who was making just his fourth career Major League start. Through his first four innings, he appeared primed and ready to outduel Bailey.
With an offense stuck in a rut the way the Reds currently are, sparks come from the unlikeliest of sources.
Zack Cozart’s double down the right field line was nice, but it brought Homer Bailey to the plate as the infield crept in. Slashing a single back up the middle, Bailey would put Cincinnati ahead for good on a two-RBI single that rolled under the glove of a drawn-in Jimmy Rollins.
Stunned by his allowance of two runs to the opposing pitcher, Buchanan must have been reeling when Billy Hamilton unloaded on an inside changeup and sent it into the moon deck for a two-run shot. Ahead 4-1, the Reds would never relinquish the lead—no matter how obscurely it came about.
Overall, it was a rough day for the offense outside of the fifth inning. Totaling just two hits in innings not labeled the fifth, the club still managed to strike out eight times while not drawing a single walk.
As maligned as Bailey has been this season for his wavering performance, he now sits at 7-3 on the year, just a win back from the league-lead in that category. His next start will be the Reds first on an important road trip.
Slamming the door emphatically in the ninth was the Cuban Missile himself, Aroldis Chapman. It was three batters and three punchouts, as Carlos Ruiz, Cesar Hernandez and John Mayberry all were victimized by the darting and swerving slider of Chapman.
With the early Sunday afternoon start, the club can now retreat home and relax ahead of a primetime showdown on Monday night. Both ESPN and the Los Angeles Dodgers come to town for Monday Night Baseball, as Tony Cingrani takes to the hill in what is more than likely his final start for the time being as a Cincinnati Red.
The Dodgers will counter with veteran Dan Haren, who should be the most susceptible Dodgers pitcher to defeat the Reds will face all week.
Getting underway at 7 p.m., a critical four-game set gets underway in the Queen City.