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Homer Bailey so-so in start, Reds offense can’t overcome Angels in 4-3 loss

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A rather ho-hum day even by spring standards.

MLB: Spring Training-Cleveland Indians at Cincinnati Reds Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

One day after getting less than stellar health news on both Anthony DeSclafani and watching Brandon Finnegan exit his start with the training staff, the idea of Homer Bailey taking the mound in a game that didn’t count was a bit of a jittery one. Fortunately, the oft-injured Bailey at least looked healthy in his start, though he did get knocked around for much of his outing.

His final line of 4 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, BB, 2 K wasn’t nearly as nice as the 69 pitches he threw in the process, but he did manage to get former teammate Zack Cozart out both times he faced him (though Cozy would eventually single off Amir Garrett). If simply getting work in and stretching Homer out to be ready come April was the goal, today was a step in the right direction.

The early damage allowed by Bailey ultimately was too much for the Cincinnati offense to overcome, however, as an Angels bullpen featuring former Reds John Lamb and Blake Wood managed to fire 5.1 innings of 1 ER ball, and the Reds couldn’t dig themselves out of the hole, ultimately falling 4-3.

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Who knows if the injuries to Finnegan and DeSclafani prompted some form of newfound focus for Cody Reed, but the lefty looked as good on Monday as he has in a Cincinnati uniform in quite some time. He pounded the zone in his 2 IP, avoiding the bugaboo that’s haunted him in his brief big league career - walks. He struck out a pair and allowed only a lone single, an infield hit on a high chopper.

It’s days like he had today that keep Bryan Price insisting that Reed can be a legitimate starting pitcher at some point down the road, and it was quite nice for all of us to see it on display again.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Billy Hamilton, who walked, scored, and finally got a bunt single for all of you who think that’s suddenly going to make him some sort of offensive machine; Amir Garrett, who tossed another pair of scoreless innings; Patrick Kivlehan, who doubled, walked, and scored; and Nick Senzel, who went 1 for 3 with an RBI single and a handful of impressive defensive plays at 3B.

Key Plays

  • Ian Kinsler turned around a Bailey offering as the leadoff batter in the Bottom of the 1st, lining a solo homer right down the LF line. Bailey then walked Mike Trout, which burned him when Trout later scored on an Albert Pujols double down the LF line. Reds trailed early, 2-0.
  • Garrett Richards struggled mightily with his control as the Angels starter, particularly in the Top of the 3rd when he walked three different Reds. That helped get Hamilton to 3B with 1-out, and he scored on Senzel’s single into LF. Cliff Pennington later scored on an Adam Duvall sac fly, and the game was tied, 2-2.
  • Kinsler and Trout both floated soft singles to begin the Bottom of the 3rd, the latter moving Kinsler over to 3B. Justin Upton then hit a hard grounder to Senzel at 3B, who elected to go to 1B to try to get an out; however, Joey Votto came off the bag to catch it early and fire home in an attempt to nail Kinsler, but the throw pulled Devin Mesoraco away from the plate and Kinsler scored with no out recorded. Trout moved to 3B, and he later scored on a productive grounder by Pujols. Reds trailed, 4-2.
  • Kivlehan’s double was followed by a single up the middle by Alex Blandino, and that plated a run for the Reds with 2-outs in the Top of the 7th to cut the lead to 4-3. Unfortunately, that’s how the scoring ended.

Other Notes

  • When it comes to getting swings and misses on changeups, a pair of young Cincinnati pitchers did so at an elite level in 2017. Here’s to hoping they can both replicate that again this year.
  • Brandon Finnegan’s arm issue was initially diagnosed as a ‘lateral forearm spasm,’ but now it’s been recategorized as a ‘biceps strain,’ as MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince reported. Neither one of those sounds particularly promising - nor does Finnegan mentioning he’d had stiffness in the arm all week - but he reportedly feels good, so who knows.
  • The Reds will finally have an off-day on Tuesday. On Wednesday, they’ll return to action in Scottsdale against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Robert Stephenson will be on the mound opposite Zack Greinke, with first pitch scheduled for 4:10 PM ET. It’ll be televised by both teams, so you can tune in to FS-Ohio for the action.
  • Tunes.