Homer Bailey's No-Hitter Makes Him Immediate X-Factor in Reds World Series Run

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Homer Bailey's No-Hitter Makes Him Immediate X-Factor in Reds World Series Run
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Fresh off of the 15th no-hitter in the history of the Cincinnati Reds, Homer Bailey has established himself as the team's X-factor heading into October.

Long seen as a pitcher who never reached his potential, the 26-year-old continues to develop into a great pitcher. He has been phenomenal outside of a handful of starts this year, and he continues to show flashes of brilliance.

ESPN.com breaks down every game thrown by the young pitcher.

Bailey was coming off of a shaky outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers and went to a place where he has always pitched well. He has now thrown three complete games in his career and all have come against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

Until Friday night, fans have been reluctant to give Bailey credit for his development into a solid pitcher. Occasional bad starts overshadow his brilliance, but that is about to come to an end.

The Reds have five games remaining in the regular season, and Bailey is scheduled to go in the final game. A strong outing on Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals will go a long way in helping the team make a postseason run.

Cincinnati has not scored more than three runs in any of Bailey's past seven starts, but Bailey has continued to pitch well in tight games.

His no-hitter has now put him in position to be the team's X-factor as the postseason approaches.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

Road Numbers

Reds fans know one thing about Bailey: he is spectacular on the road.

Coming into the game against the Pirates, he owned the second-lowest earned run average on the road in all of baseball. On the other hand, he has an earned run average over 5.00 at Great American Ball Park. 

Cincinnati is set to open the postseason on the road, and Bailey should get serious consideration to get the ball in Game 2. 

Bailey has an ERA of 2.63 (heading into Friday's start) and has allowed only five home runs away from home this season. The numbers are so different on the road compared to home that it makes sense to give the right-hander a chance to pitch on the road in the postseason.

  W L ERA HR AVG
Home 4 8 5.16 21 .299
Away 8 2 2.63 5 .228
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

 

With Johnny Cueto starting the series and Mat Latos pitching Game 3, Bailey has earned the right to pitch the second game of the series. If the Reds advance past the National League Division Series, Bailey could potentially pitch two road games if the team does not earn the No. 1 seed.

 

 

 

He could be scheduled to pitch Game 2 of the NLDS as well as Game 2 and Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. With his performance away from home this season, the Reds would be wise to put him in a role in which he could succeed.

 

Depth of Rotation

Cueto and Latos have been incredible this season, but Bailey was arguably the No. 2 pitcher for most of the season. He has 22 quality starts this season despite having such a high earned run average at home.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

At the top of the rotation, Cueto is 19-9 and in the Cy Young debate. Latos is 13-4 and is continuing to pitch at a high level. Behind those two pitchers, the Reds have been looking for somebody to step up.

Bronson Arroyo is 12-9 with a 3.70 ERA and is a completely different style of pitcher than the top two pitchers. His off-speed style keeps hitters guessing, but he has not been as good as Bailey this season.

 

Bailey was slated as the team's No. 4 starter to begin the 2012 season. He has certainly pitched his way into contention for the Game 2 start if it happens to be on the road. 

For the first time in his career, Bailey has stayed healthy for a full season and thrown more than 200 innings. Four of the five starters in Cincinnati's rotation will finish with 10 or more wins and at least 200 innings.

 

 

 

No other team can run out a No. 4 pitcher who can be as dominant as Bailey. He has gone up against other team's aces and gone pitch-by-pitch with them. In his no-hitter, he improved to 2-2 against Pittsburgh's A.J. Burnett this season. He has also pitched and led his team to a win against Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies.

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If the Reds end up with the top seed, Bailey can pitch Game 2 against the wild card team's No. 3 pitcher and not miss a beat. He went 1-0 and only allowed three runs on 10 hits in 12.1 innings against the Atlanta Braves this season.

The right-hander has proven he can pitch against playoff teams and has at least one quality start against every team in the NL playoff picture.

 

Conclusion

 

In a season that featured seven no-hitters, Bailey has established himself as the X-factor for the Cincinnati Reds.

Getting Bailey to start on the road in the postseason is crucial for the team to advance into the next round. His dominance away from Cincinnati is no fluke. He is a great pitcher when he does not have to worry about a fly ball reaching the first row in the Great American Ball Park. 

Bailey has proven himself in prime time even at home. He did not allow a run in two innings in the 2010 NLDS against the Phillies, and he steps up on the big stage. He threw two dominant games against the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals, both playoff teams, on Sunday Night Baseball this season.

Reds fans should enjoy the no-hitter and realize Bailey's breakthrough season is a great sign.

He is still a young pitcher, but he has the poise to be the X-factor for Cincinnati in the playoffs.

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