The Reds and Homer Bailey made a little history yesterday, and it because of it they were able to grab some national headlines. If the Yankees or Red Sox accomplished back to back pitching performances like two of the Reds young guns just had (against the Pirates or not), they’d get a 10 minute segment on Baseball Tonight and would be considered instant darkhorse contenders or favorites based upon their standing.
Homer Bailey became the 7th pitcher in MLB history to throw a complete game shutout on 90 pitches while throwing at least 73 for strikes. Bailey threw 78 pitches for strikes. As I listened on the radio to Marty Brennamen, I thought it was odd that before batters were coming up to the plate in the 9th and Bailey’s first delivery, Marty was actually saying “just mark it in the book now” in regards to Bailey throwing a first pitch strike and getting ahead. This performance is an exhibit of the dangerous Homer Bailey that the Reds can get when he gets a little bit of confidence going in his favor. He has the ability to be a dominant presence on the mound.
The Reds became only the fourth team in since 1994 to have pitchers throw back to back complete game shutouts. Aside from history and getting a little bit of chatter from the national experts, the Reds bullpen basically hasn’t thrown since Sunday. One cannot imagine the ramifications of this as we head into a weekend series with the St. Louis Cardinals, losers of two in a row to the Houston Astros. The Reds are one game back with a three game set against the Cardinals and an off day today.
If ever there were a time for the Reds to make a statement and prove that this 5-game winning streak is for real, it’s this weekend. I believe that they have a chance to really take a stranglehold on this division this weekend and to begin somewhat of a free fall for the veteran Cardinals. Albert Pujols has already acknowledged that the Cardinals are underperforming. This is a real chance for the Reds to show that they’re not intimidated by the intimidators and show the league that they’ve got some staying power.
They’ve had series victories over teams like the Dodgers and Mets that provide as a nice feather in the cap, but to take a series in mid-May from the Cardinals with first place on the line at home would have a lot of leverage in getting the town and fans excited about this team. You want the fans to buy into this group? Go out and put a couple losses on the Cardinals (who won’t be throwing Chris Carpenter this weekend).
This is what it’s all about for Reds fans. Series like this are our playoffs.