video thumbnail

CHC@CIN: Bailey leaves game with an apparent injury

Homer Bailey's last start was cut short by injury, but the Reds will have the right-hander at full strength for Tuesday night's tilt with the Brewers at Miller Park.

Bailey, who is 8-5 with a 4.21 ERA, strained his right knee during the sixth inning against the Cubs on July 10, a game in which he was charged with three runs over five-plus frames. He received treatment for the knee over the All-Star break and threw a pair of bullpen sessions since that game -- one at home in Texas, the other with the team on Saturday.

"I don't see why there would be any setbacks or anything," Bailey said on Sunday. "We'll kind of see how it goes. You don't really know, but I have a pretty good idea [that] everything should be fine."

Bailey had turned in two of his best starts of the season before sustaining the injury, throwing a shutout against the Giants on June 29 and surrendering just one run over eight innings and fanning eight against Milwaukee on July 5. He has a 3.22 ERA against the Brewers this season.

Right-hander Jimmy Nelson, 25, is set to take the mound for Milwaukee opposite Bailey in what will be his third Major League appearance of the season.

Nelson's first outing -- a spot start in May -- showed promise, as he turned in 5 2/3 scoreless innings while giving up five hits and three walks. But when the team called him up earlier this month to replace Marco Estrada in the rotation, the Cardinals tagged him for eight runs (six earned) across 4 1/3 frames in his return.

"It's very frustrating. That's all on me," Nelson said after that game. "I didn't get ahead of hitters, I fell behind a lot of guys. I didn't execute my pitches, left too many balls up, and I know when that happens, no matter what level you're at, you're going to get hit."

But there's plenty of hope that Nelson, a former second-round Draft pick, can help improve a rotation that has been largely lackluster through the first half of 2014.

"The thing about him is he's got great command with all his pitches," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "And he's got a great feel for the game. He understands when to change speeds, he understands when to go inside, he understands when to throw the ball in the dirt. The combination of the three is why he pitches the way he does."

Brewers: Roenicke says confidence key to reclaiming fundamentals
The Brewers find themselves in one of their toughest stretches of the season after having stumbled through a seven-game losing streak earlier in the month. On Monday, Roenicke publicly expressed his frustration on the heels of his team's late-inning loss in Washington, which saw the Brewers lose in the ninth inning following a missed double steal and a botched throw to a cutoff man by outfielder Khris Davis.

Roenicke feels that a lack of fundamental soundness in recent weeks has been a matter of confidence for his players.

"If you worry about making a mistake, you'll make one," he said. "So it's more about just being confident and trying to be aggressive and making plays. If your mind is that way, you're going to make a lot better plays than if you're worried about making a mistake. If you play cautious, you're not going to play well."

Reds: Price confident offense can rebound
With Jay Bruce having a forgettable season thus far and stalwarts Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips on the disabled list, the lineup has been both sluggish and inconsistent. Only five times since July 1 have the Reds mustered more than four runs in a game, and they combined for just six while being swept by the Yankees over the weekend.

Manager Bryan Price emphasized that although getting his bench more involved in the offense could be beneficial, he believes that his everyday starters will have to find their rhythm at the plate if the team is going to remain competitive in the tight National League Central.

"I think you have to make sure the players know you still have confidence in them," Price said. "We have some regulars that we know are going to be in there. They're going to play and going to play often, and they're going to play through struggle. We'll stay with them and get through it. The other guys that are more bench players or guys that we rotate; you can't always just play the hot hand."

Worth noting
• The Brewers selected the contract of reliever Jeremy Jeffress from Triple-A Nashville on Monday and optioned Rob Wooten to the same affiliate. Jeffress, a first-round Draft pick of the organization in 2006, will be making his first appearance with Milwaukee since 2010.

• The Reds have a 10-3-1 series record against division opponents this season and have won all three of their previous series with the Brewers. However, they are winless in three series against the Cardinals.

MLB.com Comments