Turn Off Ads?
Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 66

Thread: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

  1. #1
    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    34,844

    Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled
    June 17, 2009

    When Branch Rickey described baseball as a game of inches, odds are he was talking about balls that barely clear the fence or squirt beyond an infielder's grasp.

    Homer Bailey is adding another anecdote to Rickey's signature phrase. By sliding his middle finger an inch or so wider in his grip, Bailey has added a split-fingered fastball that is transforming him from just another hyped Louisville Bats prospect to the most unhittable pitcher in the International League.

    Ask the Norfolk Tides.

    At Louisville Slugger Field on Wednesday, the Tides became the fourth consecutive team to look utterly confused and overmatched by Bailey. He still can make the radar gun flash consistently with his magical 96mph fastball, but now he's also throwing an 88mph split-finger fastball that tumbles into the dirt as it arrives at home plate.

    "The first time he threw one, my only comment was, 'Holy smokes!'" Bats manager Rick Sweet said.

    Using those two pitches, plus his curveball and slider, Bailey limited the Tides to seven harmless singles in eight shutout innings in a 6-2 Louisville victory.

    He started throwing the split-finger June2 at Pawtucket. He has now taunted hitters with it in four starts.

    These are his statistics for those games: He has allowed one run and 24 hits (no home runs) in 311/3 innings. He has struck out 30 hitters and walked five. Opponents are batting .211 against him.

    "I've had Homer three years and never seen him anywhere near as dominating, game after game after game," Sweet said. "He's controlling the best hitters in this league, absolutely controlling them with his stuff."

    Credit the split-finger. Credit Bailey. But most of all, credit Bats pitcher Justin Lehr.

    After four seasons of fooling nobody with his changeup, Bailey said he was charting pitches for Lehr one night. Bailey is 23, a former No.1 draft pick, a proud Texan and a guy the Cincinnati Reds expect to anchor their starting rotation. Lehr is 31, a veteran who pitched in South Korea part of last season and survives on guile.

    Bailey watched Lehr confuse hitters with his split-finger pitch and asked him to show him the grip. Lehr agreed. They huddled in late May in the outfield in Scranton, Pa. When Bailey throws his fastball, he grips the ball where the seams come together. Lehr taught him to keep his index finger on the seam but move his middle finger outside the seam. That's the splitter.

    Same pitching motion. Different grip. Devastating results.

    "I threw one or two and (Lehr) said, 'You already have it. There's nothing to teach,'" Bailey said.

    Not exactly. The folks running the Reds' farm system had to approve. Bailey said he wanted to learn it several years ago but was told that throwing the splitter could injure his shoulder or elbow. Approval denied.

    Velocity has given him multiple opportunities in the big leagues, starting in 2007, but velocity was not keeping him in Cincinnati. Bailey understood he needed to deceive hitters. The splitter would be his deception.

    Bats pitching coach Ted Power had to ask his supervisors for approval. Bailey said he already had made his decision.

    "I said, 'Teddy, you can ask them, but I really don't care,'" Bailey said. "I'm throwing it. If they tell me, 'No,' I'm just going to throw it anyway. You can call it a changeup if you like."

    We'll never know how that dispute would have been resolved. The Reds gave their OK. And now Bailey is giving hitters something to think about other than his fastball. He's also giving the Reds something to think about for their pitching rotation.

    Reach Rick Bozich at (502) 582-4650 or rbozich@courier-journal.com.

    http://www.courier-journal.com/artic...428/-1/rsslink
    I miss Adam Dunn.

  2. Turn Off Ads?
  3. #2
    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    11,434

    Re: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    "I said, 'Teddy, you can ask them, but I really don't care,'" Bailey said. "I'm throwing it. If they tell me, 'No,' I'm just going to throw it anyway. You can call it a changeup if you like."
    I hope no one tries to turn this into a 'bad attitude' issue. I love that Bailey is so competitive. He wants to succeed about as much as anyone I've ever seen.

  4. #3
    Member aubashbrother's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Brookneal , VA.
    Posts
    530

    Re: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    great read. thanks obm
    2009 Redszone MLB Mock Draft

    1st Round - Steven Strasburg

    1st Round - Matt Purke

    2nd Round - Brett Jackson

    3rd Round - Kent Matthes

  5. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    6,419

    Re: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    Bailey has never really had an attitude problem from my POV.

  6. #5
    Member membengal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Baltimore
    Posts
    9,060

    Re: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    That was a delightful read, thanks for posting OBM. The splitter can be a devastating pitch, but it's not for eveyone. If fact, relatively few can really command it. If Bailey as the right build to throw that pitch well, and, now that he is a little older, perhaps throw it with fewer injury concerns, this is simply outstanding news.

  7. #6
    Member Superdude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    2,793

    Re: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    I'm pretty psyched right now. Whenever Homer comes up to the bigs, he seems to have no idea what to do or what to throw in a two strike count. If the splitter is truly a go to strikeout pitch, he's got one heck of an arsenal working.

  8. #7
    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    11,434

    Re: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    Quote Originally Posted by GIDP View Post
    Bailey has never really had an attitude problem from my POV.
    It's been said multiple times that he does, but it's also been said that he's done a 180 over the past year or so.

  9. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Milford, Clifton
    Posts
    1,585

    Re: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    Very nice article. Good for Homer.
    Follow me on twitter @EricLilly7

  10. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    8,843

    Re: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    Quote Originally Posted by camisadelgolf View Post
    It's been said multiple times that he does, but it's also been said that he's done a 180 over the past year or so.
    I think the criticism was fair in the past. He did say and do some things to make folks wince. But I agree with you, he hasn't done anything this year (including his comments above) to tell me he's reverted back to that.

    Props to Lehr though. I'm glad that Homer is really trying to learn and take what he can from others. That's a good sign.

    Anyone at all concerned though about the split finger affecting Homer and his health? Very few starters throw a splitter and remain healthy.

  11. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Shelburne Falls, MA
    Posts
    10,129

    Re: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    I'm wracking my brain trying to think of what other starters use a split finger these days. Nobody comes to mind. I know it was a great pitch for Clemens in the latter half of his career, but I really can't think of SPs throwing now who rely on it. There must be some guys -- anybody able to help?
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

  12. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    548

    Re: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    I know a lot of people are down on him because expectations were high and he has yet to deliver on them, but his career path reminds me a lot of Gavin Floyd.

    He was #4 overall pick out of high school with a 95+ FB, a big curveball and needed a third pitch and command worked out. He never dominated any level of the minors but the Phillies needed pitching, rushed him up at 21 and he struggled. The eventually sent him packing to the White Sox where he has turned into a good starter.

    So I am happy Homer is doing well and that the org has not given up on him. Hopefully he will continue to get better and become a productive member of the rotation.

  13. #12
    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    11,434

    Re: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve View Post
    I'm wracking my brain trying to think of what other starters use a split finger these days. Nobody comes to mind. I know it was a great pitch for Clemens in the latter half of his career, but I really can't think of SPs throwing now who rely on it. There must be some guys -- anybody able to help?
    According to Wikipedia, John Smoltz, Carlos Zambrano, Curt Schilling, Dan Haren and Rich Harden throw it.

  14. #13
    Member OesterPoster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    West-central Ohio
    Posts
    2,052

    Re: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    Pretty sure the splitter is Brandon Webb's out pitch, as well as most of the Asian guys who come over to the US. Hiroki Kuroda throws a pretty effective one, Hideo Nomo used to. Dice K throws one too.

  15. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    6,419

    Re: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    Quote Originally Posted by camisadelgolf View Post
    It's been said multiple times that he does, but it's also been said that he's done a 180 over the past year or so.
    Of course you also 1st heard about how terrible of a person he was from Hal Mccoy who also once said the reason he wasnt in the majors is because he isnt a good enough guy. So take thats for what its worth.

  16. #15
    Senor Votto Degenerate39's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    7,917

    Re: Bailey's split decision has foes dazzled

    How's Homer's change up?
    Most Vottomatic Player


Turn Off Ads?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Board Moderators may, at their discretion and judgment, delete and/or edit any messages that violate any of the following guidelines: 1. Explicit references to alleged illegal or unlawful acts. 2. Graphic sexual descriptions. 3. Racial or ethnic slurs. 4. Use of edgy language (including masked profanity). 5. Direct personal attacks, flames, fights, trolling, baiting, name-calling, general nuisance, excessive player criticism or anything along those lines. 6. Posting spam. 7. Each person may have only one user account. It is fine to be critical here - that's what this board is for. But let's not beat a subject or a player to death, please.

Thank you, and most importantly, enjoy yourselves!


RedsZone.com is a privately owned website and is not affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds or Major League Baseball


Contact us: Boss | GIK | BCubb2003 | dabvu2498 | Gallen5862 | LexRedsFan | Plus Plus | RedlegJake | redsfan1995 | The Operator | Tommyjohn25