It is debatable how important Sunday's game is against the Cardinals. Saturday's ballgame was mandatory in that the Reds could not afford to have St. Louis sweep this series and give them reason to believe that they could take the Central. But, for Homer Bailey, beating Wainright in a game that would essentially cripple the Cardinals' chances of catching us would be the seminal moment in his young career. At least, I would have to think so...
There are a couple of things that I like about the matchup. First, after a string of bad starts, Homer was excellent in his last start against the Phillies. It almost seems he got a second wind, and his stuff was so good that night that he did not seem to be laboring physically from all the logged innings at all.
Second, while Wainright has really started to string together a series of good starts to prove he is recovered from TJ surgery, you have to wonder how much of a toll the workload may have on him at this point. All one has to do is look at how Johann Santanna self-destructed after his no-hitter, or to how poor AJ Burnett has been since shutting down the Reds a couple of weeks ago, to understand how much of a ripple effect these complete game efforts can have on a starting pitcher in today's game. It would not surprise me at all if we will not get the superlative version of Wainright on Sunday.
But, even if we do, I am most excited about what Homer might do. This is his time to shine, if he is ever going to. A win on Sunday may not determine the Reds' fate for the remainder of the season, but it could go a LONG way to determine the Reds' pitching options in the postseason. Personally, I can't wait to see what Bailey brings to the party Sunday.