Cincinnati Reds: Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey Will Be Keys to Playoff Success

Tyler Duma@@TylerDuma_BRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 8:  Bronson Arroyo #61 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Houston Astros at Great American Ball Park on September 8, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Arroyo earned the win as the Reds topped the Astros 5-1.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Bronson Arroyo is winding down on what has been a major bounce back season in 2012.

Between this season and last, Arroyo has lowered his ERA from 5.07 to 3.66, his WHIP from 1.37 to 1.19 and has a 12-7 record with three remaining starts compared to last year's 9-12 performance.

Arroyo has been a key component to the Reds' success in the 2012 regular season by logging quality starts in 18 of his 28 starting appearances. That's good for second best in the rotation behind Johnny Cueto's 20.

Homer Bailey is also coming down the home stretch in what could be called his long awaited coming out party.

Bailey has been a highly touted young pitcher for the better part of eight years but he's never quite been able to put it all together. In 2012, Bailey has finally done just that and has compiled a 10-9 record with a 4.03 ERA, 1.33 WHIP with 138 strikeouts and 45 walks.

It may not look like much, but Bailey has been the victim of shaky bullpen efforts. According to Baseball-Reference, Bailey has had nine bequeathed runners scored, all counting against his ERA and has suffered six tough losses.

Bailey could easily be a 16-9 pitcher with a 3.57 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. If this were the case, articles would be flying around the Internet about Bailey's breakout campaign. However, it's been largely glossed over due to a mediocre record.

In any event, Bailey, like Arroyo, has logged 18 quality starts in 28 starting appearances.

Their ability to keep the Reds in games, and ability to pitch on the road, is going to be crucial to the Reds in the playoffs.

In the division series, their importance is most apparent with Bailey.

The Reds will likely have home-field advantage in the opening round of the 2012 postseason, meaning that they would get Games 3, 4 and 5 at home (latter two if necessary) after opening the series on the road.

Bailey's performance on the road includes a 7-2 record, 2.75 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, five HR allowed and 69 strikeouts. His home starts amount to a 3-7 record with a 5.36 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 19 HR allowed and 69 strikeouts.

This disparity could play a huge role in the playoffs as Bailey would be slated to start Game 4 at home, where he would face the Giants.

Bailey's troubles come from the long ball as shown above. Luckily for Bailey, the Giants' 87 home runs rank last in Major League Baseball.

If the Reds are going to make a run at a World Series title, they'll need Bailey to step up at home.

Arroyo's importance to the playoff push goes beyond the numbers. Arroyo is the only active member of the Reds pitching staff who has even been to the World Series, let alone win one.

This is not to say that Arroyo's performance on the field isn't important as well.

Arroyo, like Bailey will need to improve his performance at home in order for the Reds to progress in the playoffs. At home, Arroyo has worked to a 4-2 record with a 4.13 ERA, 1.43 WHIP allowing nine home runs while striking out 47. On the road, Arroyo is 8-5 with a 3.34 ERA, 1.03 WHIP with 14 HR and 65 strikeouts.

Arroyo will likely start the always important Game 3 of the opening round, which can make or break a playoff series. He'll make this start at home, where he, like Bailey, is less effective.

The Reds will need Arroyo to keep them in Game 3 of the Division Series if they are to progress in the playoffs.

Like Bailey, Arroyo's next two starts would come on the road giving him a chance to pitch in far more pitcher-friendly parks as likely opponents include the Nationals, Cardinals and Braves.

According to ESPN's Park Factor ratings, Busch Stadium and Turner Field rank in the bottom 10 of their home run ratings while Nationals Park ranks ninth.

Arroyo and Bailey are going to be crucial to the Reds playoff success. Both will need to improve at home and pitch up to their regular season standards on the road if the Reds are to contend for a World Series title.