PHOENIX -- Homer Bailey's season hurtled out of orbit over a month ago and the Reds' veteran starting pitcher may not get many more chances to get it back under control.On Monday at Chase Field, Bailey encountered a D-backs team in a deep funk, and still found himself on the
PHOENIX -- Homer Bailey's season hurtled out of orbit over a month ago and the Reds' veteran starting pitcher may not get many more chances to get it back under control.
On Monday at Chase Field, Bailey encountered a D-backs team in a deep funk, and still found himself on the wrong end of a 12-5 loss despite a 16-hit output from the offense. He finished with four-plus innings while allowing eight runs (six earned), six hits and one walk with three strikeouts. He also surrendered two more home runs to reclaim the National League lead with 15.
Soon, Anthony DeSclafani will be ready to be activated from the 60-day disabled list. DeSclafani, who had a strained left oblique, is expected to make one more rehab start on Wednesday, and then the club will have to choose someone to remove from the rotation.
"I don't know what we're going to do," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said.
Riggleman expected a collective decision amongst himself, baseball operations president Dick Williams, general manager Nick Krall, senior advisor Walt Jocketty and pitching coach Danny Darwin.
"We're going to have to really map that out, what we're going to do in the next week, 10 days, because not only that, we have a lot of off-days. We don't really have to have five starters during that time," Riggleman said.
In 12 starts this season, Bailey is 1-7 with a 6.68 ERA -- the highest among qualified Major League starters. He's also the Major League leader in hits allowed (81). Over his last seven starts, he has a 9.37 ERA with an astounding 57 hits and 34 earned runs over his last 34 2/3 innings.
Over his first five starts, Bailey didn't have any wins to show for it, but a respectable 3.68 ERA.
"This month has been horrible," Bailey said. "I think we started our first five games or so pretty solid. But once it kind of started snowballing, it just keeps going down."
Both Bailey and the club haven't been able to pinpoint why he can't be effective again with his pitches.
"He's grinding it out, out there. They're just getting hits, I don't know what else to say," Riggleman said.
Arizona came in having lost 15 of its last 17 games, while scoring 34 runs and dropping back to a .500 record in that span. The D-backs didn't struggle to get back on track vs. the Reds, who had a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on Adam Duvall's RBI single.
A defensive miscue wound up costing Bailey and the Reds four runs in the bottom half. With runners on the corners and one out, Socrates Brito bounced sharply to shortstop. Appearing to anticipate a tailor-made double play, Jose Peraza botched playing the ball for an error that left everyone safe as Daniel Descalso scored. Instead of being out of the inning clean, it only got worse. The next batter, Nick Ahmed, crushed an 0-2 fastball for a three-run home run and a 4-1 Arizona lead.
"I can't do anything about the errors, but I need to be a little bit better than that and make some pitches after that and pick up my teammates," Bailey said. "It kind of falls on me."
John Ryan Murphy led off the bottom of the fourth by hitting a 3-2 pitch to left field for a homer. Following Eugenio Suarez's fielding error at third base, and a single that put runners on the corners, Ahmed grounded to third base. Suarez looked the runner back to third base and threw to second base for a force play. Chris Owings broke for home, and scored when Scooter Gennett's throw bounced and got away from Tucker Barnhart for another error.
"It was one of those ones where anything that could go wrong, did go wrong," Riggleman said.
The Reds used a four-run top of the fifth to get Bailey back in the game, but he gave up back-to-back singles to begin the bottom of the inning. Jackson Stephens took over and with two outs, gave up Owings' three-run homer to left field.
While young pitcher Sal Romano has struggled badly in his last few outings, and rookie Tyler Mahle has been inconsistent, moving Bailey out of the starting five would be a statement move because of his high salary.
With two years remaining on his six-year, $105 million contract, Bailey is making $21 million in 2018 and is owed an additional $23 million for '19. He has a $25 million club option for '20 that has a $5 million buyout. He endured three elbow surgeries from 2014-17 that affected his performance, but he's been considered healthy this season. If the Reds were to cut ties with the 32-year-old, they would still have to pay all of that money.
Another choice could be to let Bailey work out his struggles in a bullpen role, which he hasn't done before.
"We haven't thought that way yet," Riggleman said. "I don't really envision him being a guy getting up in the bullpen and getting loose. He's been a starter his whole career. That would be quite an adjustment. Our club is 19-36. We have to be thinking about a lot of things. We can't just be close-minded and feel like, 'This is who we are, this is who plays where, who pitches where.' We've got to be willing to put some other options out there."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Season-high four RBIs for Duvall: The Reds put together a rally against D-backs starter Matt Koch in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with two outs. Duvall drove them all in with a three-run double to give him his first four-RBI game of the season, and put the Reds one run back at 6-5.
But, he was out at the plate: After Duvall's big hit, Bailey sharply grounded a hit off of the diving Jake Lamb's glove at third base. From shortstop, Ahmed retrieved the ball in the outfield and was able to spin and fire a throw to the plate as Duvall tried to score from second base. Murphy applied the tag for the third out as the sliding Duvall unsuccessfully tried to sneak his hand in and touch home.
"That was a great baseball play," Riggleman said.
HE SAID IT
"I think the one thing that teams would be hard-pressed to find is to get more production out of the infield. Our infield has been really productive between Scooter, Joey [Votto] and Suarez. So, I think everything else has got to be open to a lot of thought. That's what happens when your record is what ours is." -- Riggleman, on whether the team is considering lineup or roster changes to improve
The Reds will send right-hander Luis Castillo to the hill on Tuesday night for the 9:40 p.m. ET start. The D-backs will counter with right-hander Zack Godley. Castillo has won three of his last four starts, having allowed two runs or fewer in five consecutive outings.
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.