Sub Bailey for Mays?
... until Claussen returns
COMMENTARY BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Reds' plan, at the moment, is to start Joe Mays against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.
Here's what I'd do: I'd start Homer Bailey instead, and make it a one shot deal.
Tell Bailey he's up with the Reds until Brandon Claussen is ready to come off the disabled list.
That lessens the pressure. And if he pitches so well that you have to alter the decision, all the better.
The move would instill more confidence in the Reds' clubhouse than running Mays out there again.
Bailey's numbers with Double-A Chattanooga - 4-0 record, 0.88 ERA, 17 hits, 31 strikeouts, six walks in 302/3 innings - are staggering.
But odds are you'll see Justin Germano, Michael Gosling or Jason Standridge taking the mound in the immediate future before you see Bailey.
Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky has never deviated from the company line on the 20-year-old phenom: The team is pleased with his progress. The Reds are glad he's had success at two levels. They don't want to bring him up and have to send him back down.
Double-A is a long way from the big leagues. Bailey relies too heavily on his fastball. He needs to work on controlling runners.
But Cincinnati, which opens a three-game series tonight in Houston, then goes to Milwaukee for three games, is in a pennant race.
Every game counts. One bad stretch could kill the Reds' wild-card chances. One good stretch could put them in command.
Mays has a 9.45 ERA in his four starts as a Red. He has given up 19 runs on 25 hits in 14 innings over his last three outings.
He warned everyone before his last start that he probably wouldn't be sharp because he hadn't pitched in 16 days.
How do you think that played around the bat rack?
Still, Krivsky probably will continue his patience with Bailey.
And even if he's softening toward the urge to bring Bailey up, Krivsky isn't tipping his hand.
He's extremely successful at keeping his moves under wraps until he makes them. And the last thing he's going to say is that the club is considering promoting Bailey. That would put pressure on the kid before he ever leaves the state of Tennessee.
One Reds insider has a theory on Bailey. He sees Bailey as the best chip Krivsky has. Bringing Bailey up in June would have been like a football coach using his best trick play in a meaningless game.
You use it when it counts the most.
Saturday may not be the time to play that big chip. But the Reds shouldn't wait too long.
Krivsky need look no further than his old club, Minnesota. The Twins showed a lot of patience with 22-year-old Francisco Liriano. They didn't start him until May 19. He's gone 12-2 since.
That is not to say that Bailey has Liriano's stuff, or that Bailey is even big-league ready.
But you've got to think he's the Reds' best choice for a temporary run in the No. 5 spot in the rotation.
YAN RELEASED: The Reds released right-hander Esteban Yan Monday. The club had designated him for assignment July 14, giving them 10 days to trade, release or outright him to the minors.
The Reds got him May 30 from the Los Angeles Angels for minor leaguer Kyle Edens.
Yan was 0-0 and had a 6.85 ERA in 13 games for the Angels and a 3.60 ERA and one save in 14 relief appearance for the Reds.