NL Best of the Night: Homer Bailey Goes 9 Innings in Reds' Win over Pirates

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NL Best of the Night: Homer Bailey Goes 9 Innings in Reds' Win over Pirates
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Reds pitcher Homer Bailey has allowed three runs or fewer in his past four starts.

Since I began blogging for Bleacher Report (and Horsehide Chronicles), I've picked on Cincinnati Reds pitcher Homer Bailey a few times. 

For instance, when he gave up three home runs to the St. Louis Cardinals in his first start of the season. Or when he lasted only 3 2/3 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Then there was the time I figured Bailey would get lit up, facing the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees in the same week, yet he only gave up four runs in 13 total innings. 

So if I'm going to highlight Bailey's bad performances, it only seems fair that I come back and praise him when he does well. Bailey pitched his best game of the season, allowing one run and four hits in a complete game victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It's probably worth pointing out that the Pirates don't present the most formidable opposition for a pitcher. The Bucs have scored the fewest runs in baseball, with 145. Their 345 hits as a team is also dead last in the sport. With that in mind, Bailey allowing four hits over nine innings might not seem as impressive.

But if Justin Verlander had pitched a no-hitter against these same Pirates two weeks ago (which he came within two outs of doing), no one would've put an asterisk next to that effort because he faced the worst offensive team in baseball. That's still a major league lineup.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Homer Bailey is developing into the top pitcher he was projected to be.

So the same should hold true for Bailey. Holding any big league lineup to one run and four hits over nine innings is impressive. 

The performance was just the latest in what's been a streak of excellent outings for Bailey. In his past four starts, he's allowed two runs or fewer three times. During that span, he has 21 strikeouts in 28 innings, with 21 hits, five walks and three homers allowed. His ERA has gone from 4.93 down to 3.73. 

Three of those four starts came against the Braves and Yankees too, so Bailey isn't just ringing up good numbers against poor teams. He's giving the Reds a chance to win every time he takes the mound now. He's becoming the top pitcher he was expected to be.

And if Bailey keeps this up, the Reds are going to be very tough to beat for the NL Central.

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