Last night Homer Bailey took the ball and 7 and 1/3 scoreless against the might and feared St. Louis Cardinals lineup. The Reds won the game 1-0 in a series that they have to find a way to win – a series that is arguably the most important the Reds have played all season. That’s two starts in a row that Bailey has taken the ball against St. Louis and shut them out, 14.1 innings in all. He struck out 15 and walked three in those two starts, displaying something no one talks about enough when talking about Bailey; a 5 to 1 K to BB ratio. Bailey can be inconsistent, but when he’s on he’s the best pitcher the Reds can put out there.
Bailey has taken the ball twice recently in “winning time” starts against the Cardinals; games the Reds really had to have, and delivered sparkling performances. His record now sits at 10-10, but this is going to end up the season that stands out at Bailey’s best on the back of his baseball card.
The stuff that Bailey displayed last night is why I roll him out there in a one-game playoff against the same Cardinals or the Pittsburgh Pirates. Any pitcher has the chance they could get lit. But if Bailey’s on, he’s the best option the Reds have. He seems to thrive the most in a big spotlight – think about the two no-hitters, think about the NLDS game three last year against the Giants at home (as much as it hurts), and think about the last two starts against the Cardinals.
Some may argue that Mat Latos is the Reds’ ace. It’s a close call and a good argument can be made for either guy. But in one game that I have to have if I’m the Reds – backs to the wall – I’m handing the ball to the country boy from Texas and seeing if David Dewitt Bailey brings it home.