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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Anybody out there got a read on Homer?

Anybody out there watching this game on TV or listening on radio?
Was there a report on what pitch Homer Bailey threw at the end of the first inning to get the double-play groundball?
In this gloaming, it's hard to read some of his pitches. Throwing a lot of fastballs, of course, but he froze Vernon Wells on a changeup for called strike three to lead off the second, and I thought I saw a wrinkle in that pitch on the double-play groundball. Maybe I'm imagining things.
Bailey is throwing quite effortessly. His pitch count high, but I think that's who he is -- and may be for some time. Not saying he can't lower it somewhat, but these hitters are fouling off quite a few of his pitches. His pitches appear quite lively, a lot of movement.
Will try to get him to talk a little about his stuff tonight -- how it rates compared to his other outings this spring.


at 7:57 PM Blogger MJ said...

I thought it was a slider. He threw it a few times early in the first couple of innings and got it acrossed. The third inning is where he struggled a bit with his command again.

at 8:10 PM OpenID Culpepper630 said...

well John I think Homer still needs more seasoning in triple A. He hasn't done anything differently then his other starts. He does have very good stuff, but until he learns how to command it better, he will never be better than an average pitcher.

at 8:11 PM Blogger Scottyb said...

Homer's high pitch count you say that is who he is. Do you think that time will help that or is he going to be a 6 or 7 inning pitcher

at 8:16 PM Blogger hebs said...

ugly 4th inning for the reds offense.

They were offensive!

at 8:19 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

Chris Welch said that it was a slider that he has been working on this spring

at 8:33 PM Blogger GFYS said...

Who is the long man on this team? I think this team will need 2 long men this year.

at 8:51 PM Blogger R said...

Curve or slider on the double play. Batter was off balance. Homer isn't a big prospect in my mind until he can control his pitches, especially his fastball. He gets into situations where he knows the batter isn't going to swing, and he still can't throw a strike. Not sure seasoning can really fix something so basic.

at 9:01 PM Blogger Joe said...

Homer needs some time in Louisville to get that game between his ears organized. Thankfully, it appears the Reds have the arms to give him that opportunity at the AAA level.

at 9:04 PM Blogger Joe said...

John, with the number of injuries to pitchers Marty and Jeff have been discussing during the game broadcast tonight, do you see any chance of the Reds moving one of the players vying for the final BP positions for a prospect? Would they eat some of Stanton's salary to get a prospect if there were interest in him?

at 9:18 PM Blogger NVreds said...

6 walks?!? 4 innings w/ 6 BBs is more of a sign that this kid really needs to find control of his other pitches. From what I've seen he has pretty good control of his FB he can throw it inside to LH, thats real good to see, but he needs to refine his change (obviously its effective if he's getting SOs with it) and probably shorten his curve. I've got confidence in the kid, but he's got some work to do. I'll be able to watch the game after its over on MLB.com because they archive it.

at 9:48 PM Blogger Haystacks Calhoun said...

They would trade Stanton for a bag of baseballs.....IF they could get someone to eat some of that contract.

at 11:27 PM Blogger docproc said...

Whoever once said that Bailey could throw 98 mph--or 96--or 95--was lying. He spent the night pitching in the low 90s and high 80s. He is not the power pitcher he was purported to be.

There are lots of guys who can throw this speed with much better control.

at 12:06 AM Blogger redsfanwoody said...

Wow. Six walks.It will be interesting to see what happens with Bailey in Triple A. He does have a whole lot of work to do.

at 12:12 AM Blogger Red Faced said...

Here's what I saw. First off that pitch you are talking about that got him the double play I believe was a slider. The TV crew did mention that he had been working on one when talking with David Ross. Ross appeared to have been encouraging Bailey to throw it during the game and Ross was disappointed for not being able to catch him.

Concerning the slider, it looks pretty effective for Homer. It comes out looking a whole lot like his fastball but has a slight, sharp break in it (a wrinkle as someone put it) and it was obvious batters were having trouble with it. Homer's curve is so big that I think guys are picking it up early and waiting on it, adjusting for it and slapping it around. I suspect that Homer needs to throw it much, much less than he currently does. Work it in a dozen times a game maybe max. Instead use that fastball, the slider and his changeup most of the time.

Homer's real problem appears to be his control on both his fastball and changeup. He's just all over the plate with them. He'd go 0-2 on a guy only to end up going full. Just can't seem to put guys away and that was my early impressions of him when he came up last year. He's very, very inefficient with his pitches. Guys are going up there and taking pitches and will continue to do so until Homer can get command of his fastball. Batters are going to force him to throw strikes and he's never going to pitch 6 innings this way if even 5.

He's got a lot of good tools, he's learning to use them a little better but he has to get his Strike to ball ratio up to about 2-1 before he's going to be able to help out this team. He got lucky tonight giving up 6 BB's and not getting burned for them. I believe he had at least 2 leadoff walks and walked the first 2 batters he faced in the 5th. I believe he threw 84 pitches in the 4 1/3 innngs he pitched. WAY too many.

In my mind he's definitely got to spend a good portion of the year in AAA working on his command though. Even if it were to take him all year it would be time well spent if he could master it.

And yes his fastball rarely reached 94 MPH and was usually around 91-92. Seems to be about 5 MPH below what we all were told last year.

at 12:42 AM Blogger Doug Gray said...

Doc Proc,
Its March 24th. I know for a fact that Bailey threw 38 fastballs 95MPH or faster in just September last year.

He even threw 95 and 97 tonight, although it was just a few times, working a lot 89-94. The thing is, Bailey didn't used to throw a cutter at all, he was straight 4 seam fastball all the time. Now he throws a cutter (generally 88-91 MPH) as well as a 4 seam fastball. His fastball is just fine and dandy when he really wants to rear back and throw one.

He needs to work on his control some, but tonights start looks worse in the stat line command wise than it looked on TV. There were a lot of really close 'balls' that easily would have been called strikes if he were Aaron Harang.

at 1:08 AM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...

Homer could use the seasoning in the show,it could help him to work through it.I'm not against him going to AAA either.

Howbout Burton,Bases loaded jam, 1 out score 2-1,Reds.HE GETS THE DP,Great stuff in a pressure situation.Good to see Dusty putting guys in high pressure situations,see how they react.But as some would say,ST is meaningless.I disagree.It may mean nothing to some,while to others it means everything(Players & fans).

The young catcher looked good,Hard slide into 2nd to break up the DP.That's good hard baseball.The way it's supposed to be played.

Affedlt, Looked horrible in the 9th.Gave me chill's of last season's late inning massacres.I though Mercker looked okay,His witty Veteran pitchin got him out of that WHIP situation.He walked the 1st 2,couldn't find the plate.Dusty must of reminded him,there's plenty of guys waiting to show what they can do too.

Hal Mccoy thinks the reds are a 2nd place team at best.36 years on the beat & a plaque at the a HOF,has a lot of credibility.

Howbout Votto.He wants to play 1st,huh?Dunn,business as usual;ALL OR NOTHING.

Solid defense,with the exception of the DP ball,thrown by BP.That's what ST is for,work off the rust.

at 1:20 AM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...

Anyone think the reds could make a trade for Coco Crisp for CF?

at 7:41 AM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

funny how people make excuses for Homer..he has the same issues he had last year..lack of control. He just may not be able to pitch at the major league level. He will end up in someones bullpen as a long reliever

Watched the game last night..This is a .500 team at best. Centerfield is real weak, Hamilton will prove to be a major loss that will come back and hurt this club

Keppinger still looks great

at 8:07 AM Blogger Frank Robinson's Ghost said...

Docproc --

That's because Dusty ruined Homer's arm!!!!

; - )

at 4:08 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

Bailey will get his mechanics worked out. He is not ready for the big team today, so AAA is perfect for him. Regardless, the Reds Pitching is so improved that he can be sent to AAA

Todd Coffey does it again today. He may push Burton to AAA with his 0.00 ERA

at 4:59 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

The Reds have ruined Homer Bailey. You heard it hear first last July and no one believed me. Yes, he is only 21 but his exceptional fast ball is gone. He is now very ordinary with no command.

at 5:25 PM Blogger Hugh D. Pohl said...

Jack, what's with the "making excuses" remark all the time? Disagreeing about someone's talent, ability or potential is not "making excuses". If the young man were committing crimes or something and someone said, "well, he had a hard upbringing" that would be making excuses. You act like the caliber of these guys play is a moral issue. Unless you are talking about bad behavior like being a selfish team mate or failing to hustle, I don't know what excuses have to do with it. "Too funny" (makes me cringe to say that even in jest).

at 5:31 PM Blogger Hugh D. Pohl said...

Yeah, I guess at 21, Homer just may not ever have the ability to pitch in the majors. So sad. I mean who ever had a breakthrough at 27 or 28 years old? What? Hamilton...oh, yeah. But that's a fluke because he has Mantle-like talent. Nobody else...oh, yeah, Cal Ripken, er..uh..Jeff Keppinger. They should have declared his career dead at age 21 I guess using the JackBlueAsh logic-whichever logic is in force at the time that is.

at 6:48 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

homer bailey has a real problem throwing the ball over the plate..it aint mechanics

at 9:36 PM Blogger REDLEG_5 said...

How many of you understand pitching mechanics? One footing shift causes a different release point, that gives a different center of gravity blah blah blah. My point is that the pitching coaches are changing the way he has pitched his entire life. It will take a little time but once he adjusts you all will be tell us that Homer is the the greatest.Give the boy a break! He IS the future of our pitching staff.

at 1:45 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

if Bailey is the future..."Houston we have a problem"

at 2:26 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

Nolan Ryan had a problem throwing the ball over the plate too when he was 21.

Guess that Texan figured it out sometime after age 21.

In fact, it is the opposite which is true, that very few Major League pitchers have it figured out at 21

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