I had occasion a few minutes ago to check back on Homer Bailey’s two no-hitters. I assumed his fastball velocity tonight would be lower than those glorious nights. On a sweltering Cincinnati summer evening in 2013, Bailey’s fastball averaged 94.6 mph. He struck out 9 batters and walked one. The previous September, a crisp, cool night in Pittsburgh, Bailey struck out 10 and walked one, but his fastball averaged just 91 mph. He threw fastballs on 77% and 72% of his pitches those nights.
Tonight, Bailey threw his fastball 54% of the time in the first five innings, then 21 of 30 pitches in the 6th. He struck out seven and walked none. His average fastball velocity was 92 mph. Make what you want out of all of that.
Homer Bailey’s third start of the 2018 was his best of the young season. Bailey threw 93 pitches over 6 innings. He notably went the first 5.1 innings without giving up a hit. He struck out the side in the 6th.
In the fifth inning, with his fastball velocity (and adrenaline?) creeping up, Bailey lost a little bit of control. After going 3-2 before striking out the opposing pitcher, he went to a 3-1 count on Phillies leadoff hitter Cesar Hernandez. Hernandez then lined a grooved 93 mph fastball into right field for the Phillies first hit of the night. Two batters later, Odubel Herrera drove Hernandez in with a double off the wall in right field. Herrera’s hit was on a pitch diving out the bottom of the strike zone. It was a great pitch, just better hitting.
Jared Hughes pitched the seventh and gave up a leadoff double and two-out single to surrender the go-ahead run. Pitchers, like Hughes, who are signed because of intense ground ball tendencies and to induce double plays do not always face runners on first base. Also remember that Hughes has been released and non-tendered by two NL Central clubs the past two seasons. And he’s 32, eight months older than Yovanni Gallardo.
A lot of people on the internets wanted Price to walk JP Crawford so that Hughes would have faced the Phillies pitcher. That’s not what would have happened. The Phillies would have put up a pinch hitter, probably Maikel Franco, a much better hitter than Crawford. In fact, Crawford was hitless in his previous 18 at bats. On the other hand, walking Crawford would have forced Nola from the game, for what that’s worth. One inning of Nola pitching, I guess.
The Reds scored their run on a walk and stolen base by Billy Hamilton followed by a single from Jesse Winker.
Tonight was Alex Blandino’s (25) debut with the Reds, starting at 3B. Blandino was the Reds first-round pick in 2014 (29th pick overall) out of Stanford where he played shortstop with a promising track record (Wes Jenkins). As recently as early 2017, his minor league career was stagnating. But, Blandino turned things around (Doug Gray) in the second half of 2017. Blandino made a throwing error on the first ball he fielded. He went 0-for-3 at the plate, with two strikeouts.
Tanner Rainey (25) was selected by the Reds in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft out of the University of West Alabama. He was a starter in the Reds organization in 2015 and 2016 before being moved to the bullpen last year. He closed games for both Pensacola and Daytona. His four-seam fastball averaged 99 mph in his two innings pitching for Louisville this week. His slider clocked in at a Dibblesque 90 mph. Brantley: “From the exact same arm slot.” Only Stephen Strasburg threw a harder major league slider last year.
Rainey pitched the 8th inning, featuring a 96-97 mph fastball. He loaded the bases before giving up a two-out grand slam. Better days await Tanner Rainey, you can count on that.
Nick Senzel (22) did, in fact, play 3B for the Louisville Bats tonight, raising the possibility of his debut in a Reds uniform on Friday. If somehow the Reds batting order that night starts Jesse Winker, Senzel, Joey Votto … I don’t know what I’ll do. Senzel went 0-for-4 tonight with a walk.
By all means, Thom and Marty, keep making fun of the Phillies manager while your own team is 2-8.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.