NEW YORK -- Homer Bailey prefers to be aggressive in the strike zone, and it served the Reds starting pitcher well in Detroit his last time out, as he got early contact and a complete game in a loss. Bailey wasn't expecting the Mets to follow a similar blueprint on
NEW YORK -- Homer Bailey prefers to be aggressive in the strike zone, and it served the Reds starting pitcher well in Detroit his last time out, as he got early contact and a complete game in a loss. Bailey wasn't expecting the Mets to follow a similar blueprint on Monday.
Buried under an avalanche of singles, Bailey was not able to extend his strong return from the disabled list. In a 6-4 Reds loss to the Mets at Citi Field, Bailey gave up five earned runs and 11 hits over 3 1/3 innings without a walk and with two strikeouts. Of the 21 Mets hitters he faced, only two got to a three-ball count.
"It was completely the opposite of what our scouting report said," Bailey said. "Sometimes when that happens, it's really tough to switch on the fly. I didn't do a very good job of that tonight. Guys that we had very passive were actually swinging at a lot of first pitches. I guess our game plan was a little bit wrong but I wasn't very sharp. A lot of singles."
Bailey, who had a 6.68 ERA in his first 12 starts before going on the disabled list for two months with right knee inflammation, had a 2.45 ERA in his two starts since returning.
The majority of the night's hits against Bailey were not soft contact, but four of the five singles in the first inning had exit velocities of less than 85 mph, according to Statcast™. No. 3 hitter Wilmer Flores sliced an RBI single into short right field for the game's first run that left the bat at only 69.4 mph.
"You don't want to get behind anybody, so we were very aggressive in the zone, maybe catching a little bit, just enough plate to get them to put it in play where our guys weren't," Bailey said.
Todd Frazier punched an opposite-field RBI single to right field and Austin Jackson added a RBI single that got by third baseman Eugenio Suarez to put Cincinnati into a quick 3-0 hole in the first.
"The first inning, each ball got hit just out of reach," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "It's kind of how the luck goes sometimes."
Bailey gave up two more hits in the third inning but escaped without damage. In the fourth, Kevin Plawecki connected for the only non-single against the right-hander by hitting a 1-1 curveball off the facing of the second deck in left field. The hits kept accumulating after that. Pitcher Noah Syndergaard's single to center field had a 106.9-mph exit velocity. Following a Jeff McNeil single, Flores' RBI single to left field made it 5-0 and marked the end of Bailey's night after 71 pitches.
The 11 hits allowed were the third most of Bailey's career and the most since he gave up 12 hits to the Mets on July 28, 2011. It was the fourth time this season he's given up at least 10 hits, which leads the National League and is second in the Majors.
"It's probably something where I need to do my own scouting," Bailey said. "If that's what our scouting report said and it was wrong, I need to do a better job of seeing what I can find and maybe watching them a few days ahead of time. I probably should have known better because I'm not a guy that's going to go out there and walk a bunch of people. They know I'm going to be in the zone. It's just kind of on me right there."
In the sixth inning against Keury Mella, McNeil provided what would be a key insurance run with a one-out homer to right field. The Reds are 1-6 on the three-city road trip with two games remaining.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rally in the seventh: Cincinnati came to life as Syndergaard labored during the seventh inning. With one out, Syndergaard hit Preston Tucker and pinch-hitter Phillip Ervin back to back, and Jose Peraza's bases-loaded RBI single scored the Reds' first run. Mets reliever Bobby Wahl walked Joey Votto to force home another run. With two outs and Robert Gsellman pitching, Suarez lofted a soft two-run single to short left field to cut the Reds' deficit to two. The inning's ninth batter, Mason Williams struck out to keep the rally just short.
"I think he started to get tired," Suarez said of Syndergaard. "He was throwing me some decent pitches. We took that opportunity to score some runs. I think that was our opportunity to come back in the game. But they made a good adjustment. They took him out."
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Reds are 0-8 this season when Bailey starts for them following a loss. In those games, he is 0-5 with a 7.43 ERA.
VOTTO TO REST TUESDAY
Votto reached base three times while going 2-for-4 with a walk, but he was clearly not 100 percent, as he limped around the bases. Votto was hit near the right knee by a Ryan Madson fastball vs. the Nationals on Saturday.
"Joey Votto really gutted it through that game," Riggleman said. "Tonight, he got sorer and sorer. That shot he took is really getting worse. I'm not going to play him [Tuesday]."
Tucker, who was limping around after he was hit by a pitch in the left foot and left the game in a double switch after the top of the seventh, was slated to be taken for X-rays.
The Reds' series vs. the Mets continues Tuesday, when Sal Romano starts for Cincinnati opposite left-hander Jason Vargas. Romano, who grew up in Southington, Conn., will have a significant amount of family and friends backing him at Citi Field. A victim of poor defense and soft contact that went for hits in his last start on Wednesday, Romano allowed four runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings and took the loss in a 7-4 defeat at Detroit. He is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in three career starts vs. the Mets.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.