by Andrew Wright
The Reds and Pirates broke a GABP record Tuesday night, slugging 10 home runs before the game was suspended for rain. Homer Bailey nearly broke his neck on the mound as he watched the Pirates torch his pitches.
“It seemed like everything they hit went out -- anything up in the air left the yard,” Bailey said afterward. Not quite, Homer, but close.
The home run barrage fanned the flame for conspiracy theories. We can ask the ball to explain why it kept leaving the yard, but we should probably ask Homer a few questions, too. For starters, “Where is your head?”
Nobody questions Homer Bailey’s raw stuff. His fastball and slider (along with a great Reds defense) have secured two no-hitters for Reds fans. It is fair to question what is going on between his ears at times on the mound, though. Last night he showed us why.
Bailey gave up five earned runs on 8 hits in five innings. Four of those runs came via the long ball, arriving back-to-back in both the second and fifth innings. The Reds scored in the bottom of the first and fourth innings, going up a run on the Pirates each time. When the Reds handed Bailey the lead, he handed it right back to the Pirates.
The maddening part? Without the lead, he cruised. Between the home runs by Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez to start the second, and the home runs by Startling Marte and Travis Snider to begin the fifth, Bailey struck out five batters, including three straight to atone for the first set of long balls. And after the second set? He struck out the side again.
Only Homer knows what goes on inside Homer’s brain. The Reds have to be hoping all that green they showered on him a few months ago didn’t contaminate his gray matter.