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Amid up-and-down year, Bailey has good night

Righty, Reds know inconsistency will be part of progression back from 3rd surgery
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- Both the Reds and Homer Bailey are working this season with an understanding that they won't always know what kind of stuff the starting pitcher will have on a given night. That's expected when coming back from a third elbow surgery.

However, Friday was one of the evenings where Bailey was solid. And the Reds could not back him up during a 3-1 loss, the club's seventh in the last eight games. Bailey pitched six innings with two earned runs, eight hits, two walks and three strikeouts.

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CINCINNATI -- Both the Reds and Homer Bailey are working this season with an understanding that they won't always know what kind of stuff the starting pitcher will have on a given night. That's expected when coming back from a third elbow surgery.

However, Friday was one of the evenings where Bailey was solid. And the Reds could not back him up during a 3-1 loss, the club's seventh in the last eight games. Bailey pitched six innings with two earned runs, eight hits, two walks and three strikeouts.

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"I think it's just going to be an up-and-down battle this year," Bailey said. "There's not really much I can do about it. I'll just keep trying to take the ball and compete with what you have that day. Today you could tell that the fastball had a little bit more life, as opposed to other games this year. There is really no complaints and no excuses."

Bailey's fastball averaged 94.9 mph and topped out at 97.7 mph, according to Statcast™.

In the first inning after a 107-minute rain delay before first pitch, Bailey gave up a soft single to first batter Dee Gordon and a double ripped by Giancarlo Stanton that led to a pair of runs. That included one on a wild pitch strike three to Marcell Ozuna. That put Miami ahead, 2-0.

Bailey induced double plays to end three of the first four innings; the last two on the ground came via fastballs.

Video: MIA@CIN: Gennett, Cozart turn solid double play

"It felt like that ball was coming out really well," Bailey said. "Early on, I was leaving some sliders up. The last couple of innings, I started to get it down. The split played really well for us, and then our fastball location, I was able to get those groundballs when we needed to. We were able to go in on guys. We were able to be very competitive in a lot of big spots because of it."

Bailey is 2-4 with an 8.56 ERA after six starts since his return from Feb. 18 surgery that removed bone chips from his right elbow. Since August 2014, he had two other major elbow procedures that have limited him to a total of 14 starts.

In his first two starts back, Bailey had disastrous outings with 14 runs allowed over 4 2/3 innings. He went 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA over the next two starts going into the All-Star break. But on Sunday vs. the Nationals, he was lackluster again with eight earned runs and eight hits over four-plus innings in a 14-4 loss.

"I thought he did a really nice job managing the situations with runners on base. He utilized his defense, not a lot of strikeouts," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He made, I thought, a lot better pitches. I think the other part that showed up was the stuff was better. I think that's perhaps a part of what we're going to see through this process -- days where he has the really good stuff and other days where he's got to battle with what he has. Tonight I thought he had really good stuff."

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.

Cincinnati Reds, Homer Bailey