A dry-erase board hangs in Reds manager Bryan Price’s office at Great American Ball Park. It lists the upcoming pitching schedule. If the Reds haven’t yet decided who will pitch on a certain day or just haven’t announced it yet, they leave the spot blank.
There were three blank spots on the schedule Tuesday before the start of a two-game series against the Red Sox, but Price quickly explained why.
“Homer (Bailey) was scheduled to pitch (today) against Boston originally,” Price said. “We bumped Leake up. Chances are we’ll bump Freddy (Alfredo Simon) and Johnny (Cueto) up potentially and put Homer in on Saturday. He’s got a little bit of elbow soreness.
“As much as we would have liked to give everybody a day off, it didn’t make sense for us to ask Homer to pitch through some unusual elbow stiffness in his elbow. We’re pretty optimistic by Saturday he’s going to be good to go.”
An off day Monday would have given each pitcher an extra day of rest. Instead, assuming he pitches Saturday, Bailey will get four more days rest than normal. He last started Thursday against the Indians.
Bailey has been one of the top pitchers in baseball since the All-Star break. He has allowed two earned runs in his last three starts: one in eight innings against the Diamondbacks, one in seven innings against the Marlins and no runs in seven innings against the Indians. He’s 9-5 with a 3.71 ERA overall but 1-0 with a 1.61 ERA in his last four starts.
Bailey has thrown 145 2/3 innings, ranking 44th in baseball and third on the team. Cueto (14-6, 2.05 ERA) ranks third in baseball with 179 2/3 innings. Mike Leake (9-10, 3.42) is tied for 10th with 160 2/3.
Bailey described the problem as forearm tightness. He said he recently had an epidural for a bulging disc in his neck.
The elbow problem is not serious enough to warrant an MRI, Price said. They are just being cautious and preserving Bailey for the last six weeks of the season.
“They want to give me a few more days so this doesn’t lead to bigger problems,” he said. “Instead of going out there to try to be a hero, let’s give it a few days and finish up the season the way we want to.”
Red Sox at Reds, 12:35 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410