Coming into this game, the Reds have won 4 games in a row. Coming into this game, the Reds have lost 9 games in a row to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
It's a shame the Dodgers have to come to town right now because the Reds are actually playing a little better over the last 4 games than they've played in a while. The problem is, they aren't really playing so well that I'd say they can beat a quality team like the Dodgers. I'd really like to see them keep winning for a while, if only because it's been forever since this team has reeled off a seriously long win streak.
We've seen some improvements in Homer Bailey this year, but he still needs to get over that proverbial hump. In this case, that hump is the third time through the batting order:
|Time thru order||AVG/OBP/SLG|
If he can figure out a way to get through that order one more time, he can become that 6+ IP pitcher the Reds need him to be. If there is one benefit to this terrible season, it's that the Reds have the freedom to finally let Bailey learn to pitch in the big leagues. Hopefully the experience this year will make him a much better pitcher next year.
Unfortunately for Bailey, he's going up against a tough opponent today in Chad Billingsley. The 25-year old right-hander from Defiance, OH throws mainly fastballs, cutters, and curveballs and all are very good pitches, though the curveball is particularly devastating. He shut down the Reds over 6 innings back in July, giving up just 2 runs on 7 hits while striking out 7. The key to Billinsgley is to get to him early. If he makes it out of the first inning unscathed, they're probably going to have a hard time scoring on him.
You want to know what winning a few games will do to a person? I actually had the thought this morning that if the Reds can manage to go 17-9 the rest of the season, they will finish with a winning record, and it didn't seem ludicrous. I fully expect the Dodgers to change my perspective on that this weekend.