Last night the Gladiator was on display for the spectators at the Coliseum. Homer Bailey pitched like a man; not the 21 year old kid that he is, as he earned the Cincinnati Reds their first victory in 7 games against the Oakland Athletics.
Bailey took a shutout into the 6th inning, improving upon his first two big league starts. Bailey ended up going 7 innings in all, utilizing only 93 pitches (56 of which were strikes). The A’s only collected two hits off Bailey on the evening and the only run was scored on a Mark Kotsay double. Bailey walked 4 and struck out 3 (Chavez, Chavez, Cust) in picking up his 2nd win of the season and improving to 2-0 in his young big league career.
David Weathers entered the game in the 8th inning and locked down the Athletics for his 14th save. The Reds offense was keyed by another Ken Griffey Jr. homerun, and multi hit games from Griffey, Josh Hamilton, and Javier Valentin. Alex Gonzalez also added a timely 2 run single with 2 outs.
What signifigance beyond just this ballgame is the fact that Bailey has arrived on the scene as the young star pitcher the Reds have been waiting for my entire life as a Reds fan and follower. There is sure to be some bumps in the road along the way, and surely it won’t always be made to look this simple by the young Bailey, but the flashes of brilliance are there. Rarely since I have been following this team has a young pitcher begun his career in such impressive fashion. The best part is he is home grown and here to stay for a while if the Reds are serious about winning a championship. I like the fact that they took Bailey out of the game early, babying his arm and not allowing him to build a high pitch count. With the investment in Bailey he shouldn’t be asked to throw a ton of pitches in a meaningless season (unfortunate but true) at this point in his tenure as a Red.