By HAL McCOY
There is no such thing as a one-man cavalry.
Anybody who expected pitcher Homer Bailey to come charging over the hill on a great white horse to save the Cincinnati Reds isn’t dealing with reality.
The much-awaited and much-ballyhooed return of Bailey to the Reds rotation finally happened Saturday afternoon in Nationals Park, but if you blinked you missed it.
It is one thing to make three scoreless rehabilitation appearances in the minor leagues. It is quite another thing to transfer it to the major leagues.
BAILEY’S RETURN TO THE major league mound lasted only 1 2/3 innings against the Washington Nationals and he was charged with eight runs on six hits and three walks. He faced 14 hitters and nine reached bases and three walks.
It was not realistic to expect Bailey, who last started a game in late August of last year, to pitch a three-hit shutout. It will take time for him to grab command of his pitches, it will take time for all the rust to evaporate, it will take time for him to build stamina.
It was only Bailey’s ninth start in the last three seasons because he has undergone three elbow surgeries. His last was this February to remove bone chips.
But, indeed, it was painful and awful to watch as the Reds went on to lose, 18-3, their 13th loss in their last 14 games.
THE FIRST TWO NATIONALS reached base in the first inning when Bailey gave up a single to Trea Turner and a walk to Brian Goodwin. Both scored on a double by Ryan Zimmerman for a 2-0 Washington led in the first.
It was plug ugly in the second when six Nationals scored and Bailey left the game after his 61st pitch in only 1 2/3 innings.
Michael Taylor opened the second with a single and was bunted to second by pitcher Joe Ross. Trea Turner singled for a run. Goodwin walked. Zimmerman also walked to fill the bases and Daniel Murphy ripped a three-run double to the right field corner. Anthony Rendon doubled for a another run and Bailey’s day was done.
Lisalverto Bonilla replaced Bailey and quick gave up a double to Matt Wieters for another run that was added to Bailey’s total and it was 8-0.
Amazingly, two of Bailey’s five outs were strikeouts and both were Bryan Harper, Washington’s best hitter.
AND ANOTHER PITCHER WHO has resided on the disabled list for most of the season returns to pitch Monday. The Reds have a one-game stop in St. Louis Monday to make up a rained out game and it will be pitched by Brandon Finnegan.
The Nats didn’t stop after their assault on Bailey. They continued their rampage against Bonilla, scoring four in the fourth when the Reds made two errors and Michael Taylor clubbed a two-run home run, his first of two homers. The Reds have given up home runs in 17 straight games, a club record.
Blake Wood pitched the eighth and gave up four runs and four hits — the first five he faced reached base on four hits and a walk.
Before it mercifully ended, the Nationals had 18 runs, 19 hits and were 12 for 19 with runners in scoring position.
Trea Turner had five hits and scored four runs. Daniel Murphy had four RBI, Michael Taylor had four hits that included two home runs as he scored four and drove in three as Washington’s No. 8 hitter.
The Reds didn’t score until the sixth when they scored one run and added two in the eighth.
Billy Hamilton was 0 for 20 when he punched his first of two hits. Patrick Kivlehan, batting for Joey Votto, homered in the sixth inning for the Reds first run. And he was 2 for 2. Scooter Gennett had two hits and Tucker Barnhart had two hits.
But the Reds fell 15 runs short.