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It was apparent early in the game between the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds on Sunday that Homer Bailey (0-3) is not ready for the Major Leagues. It only took Bailey 2 1/3 innings to give up 5 runs and 3 homers in the 9-0 defeat by the Red Sox. The 22 year old Bailey, according to the Reds TV broadcasters, does not have a good delivery and the Majors is not a place to teach a young hurler how to pitch. Bailey was 4-2 last season with the Reds, but had serious control problems with 28 walks and 28 strikeouts, averaging 5.56 walks and strikeouts per nine innings.
Yesterday he walked 3 and gave up 3 homers in less than 3 innings of pitching. His first start this season was his best one, with him allowing only 2 runs in 6 innings to the hot hitting Philadelphia Phillies team, but still took the loss. Since then, he has allowed 5 runs to the St. Louis Cardinals in 3 2/3 innings while walking 3 and giving up 2 homers, and that was followed by the Red Sox reaping a home run bonanza by homering 3 times yesterday.
After three starts, totaling 12 1/3 innings, he has 15 runs, 16 hits, 6 homers, 10 walks, and only 3 strikeouts in the 2008 season. His next start would be against the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium, which is bad enough in itself, but for a pitcher already short on confidence ,it could be too much for him to handle. It remains to be seen if he is sent back down to Minors before he makes that start. It had to be traumatic for him when the Cincinnati fans booed him as he left the field and cheered when Dusty Baker came out to take him out of the game.
Bailey is 28-16 in the Minors, but is averaging only 7 wins a season so far. His Major League record is 4-5 with a 6.40 ERA. He has pitched 57 innings and has allowed 59 hits, 41 earned runs, 9 homers, walked 38, and struck out 31. The worst thing is that he has given up 6 of those 9 homers in only 12 innings this season while he allowed only 3 homers in 45 innings last season.
This game was a classic since a young struggling pitcher in Bailey was facing a seasoned 28 year old veteran in Josh Beckett, who had complete command of his pitches. Beckett showed that he is not concerned about the speeding up of games by taking 32 seconds between pitches once instead of the 12 seconds Major League Baseball has proposed between pitches.
I have a feeling Bailey won't be starting the game Saturday in Yankee Stadium, and may be headed back to Louisville in the next day or two. It may be too early to write Bailey off as a Major League prospect, but after yesterday, there are serious doubts as to whether he can be a winning pitcher in the major leagues.