Cincinnati Reds right-hander Homer Bailey may be off to a slow start, but new manager Bryan Price isn’t worried.
Bailey came into Sunday’s series finale with the Chicago Cubs, his fourth start of the season, winless in three starts, which included blown saves by Reds relievers in his last two appearances, but also has been given leads in the first three games he has started.
He got his first victory of the young season after pitching six solid innings and allowing no runs on six hits. Bailey also struck out eight and walked three in yesterday’s 8-2 win over the Cubs. He’s now 1-1 for the season and saw his ERA drop from 8.16 to 5.75.
“Virtually every starting pitcher at some point in time goes through a rough start,” Price said. “And of course our team started that way at 3-8 and he got off to a rough start not pitching the way he’s capable of.”
But the Cubs, a team Bailey has dominated with wins in his last 10 starts, this was obviously the perfect opportunity to turnaround his rough start to the season.
“It’s certainly going to turn,” Price said. “He’s healthy, he’s feeling good, the ball’s coming out of his hand good. He’s made some mistakes in the middle of the plate that have been hit hard. But once he’s back locked in with his command he’ll take off.”
LF Ryan Ludwick was back in the Reds lineup on Sunday after sitting out Saturday’s middle game of the series with the Cubs. He fouled a ball off his big toe on Friday, remained in the game and had X-rays, which were negative. “It was pretty painful for about 24 hours,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He could have pinch hit (on Saturday); they did a lot of therapy on it and another session yesterday. It’s better; he’s good enough to play when he’s done all the things that he needs to do, run and cut. … We’re pretty confident he’s going to be back to close to 100 percent.” Ludwick doubled in the second inning on Sunday and went 2-for-4.
2B Brandon Phillips was back in the lineup for the second straight day after suffering a back spasm and departing early on Friday against the Cubs. “There were no issues yesterday,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He did everything he needed to do before the game, took his ground balls, took his swings, ran and did sprints and felt find.” Still he went 0-for-10 over the next two days but was still batting .270 for the season with a homer and three RBIs.
CF Billy Hamilton started the season 2-for-22 but now has a career-best five-game hitting streak where he’s batted .389 (7-of-18 with a double, RBI and four stolen bases). “(He’s) taking advantage of the pitches he is getting to handle and also hitting more balls and line drives and balls through the right side along with a bunt base hit,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “Those hard line drives and ground balls work pretty well for him.” Hamilton was 3-for-5 with a run scored on Saturday and was 1-for-5 on Sunday.