Sports Today: Feel free to panic over the state of Reds pitching

Reds manager Bryan Price motions to the umpires that he won't call for a review of a play at first base against the Brewers on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

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Reds manager Bryan Price motions to the umpires that he won't call for a review of a play at first base against the Brewers on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Well, the Cincinnati Reds are in a full-blown state of pitching emergency now.

A week ago, we were heading into a four-day stretch that would see them send three important starters to the mound.

If you wanted to feel charitable, you could see it as a chance to reset the narrative for the rest of the season.

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Instead of a team hanging (in a weak division) on thanks to a strong offense and reliable bullpen, the Reds could start to look like a bona fide contender (in a weak division) with an actual rotation with major-league pitchers in it.

Homer Bailey and Brandon Finnegan aren’t all-stars, but they’ve both at least logged one 30-start, double-digit win season for the Reds. That’s far more of a resume than most of the guys they have run out there in the first half.

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Out-performing the majority of the players who have been part of the Reds rotation at one time or another this season is not much of a challenge anyway.

Throw in prospect Luis Castillo making his major-league debut, and there was a lot to get excited about even after a disastrous June.

Well… nevermind.

Castillo was solid in his first start and even better in his second, but the Bailey/Finnegan experience almost couldn't have gone worse.

Finnegan left his first major-league start since returning from the DL with another arm problem, and Bailey has been rocked twice.

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Oh yeah, the guy they called up instead of any of their prospects to give them innings, Kevin Shackleford, gave up four runs on five hits after Bailey left the game last night.

This all comes after a parade of prospects has come and gone already with little to show for their time in The Show.

What to make of all this?

Well, the injury questions remain unanswered, but no one seems to have a good answer about why Bailey and most of the youngsters who have gotten a shot this season can’t seem to get people out consistently at the major-league level this year.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Homer Bailey roughed up again

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Bailey and Price both sounded like Nick Saban acolytes last night, saying it is all part of The Process.

"The really true snap on the slider, breaking ball and split hasn't been as good as we've seen in the past," Price continued. "But we're also talking about a guy who would be making his early season starts right now. It's a challenge. He's just got to get himself back into the mix. Certainly Homer is a better pitcher than that." 

Bailey, whose breaking and off-speed stuff were what let him dominate in a rehab start in Dayton a couple of week ago, also pretty much seemed to be just going with the flow.

At least he still has a sense of humor.

"Just not quite as sharp, but a little bit better than last time, which is not really hard to do," said the pitcher who allowed six runs in three innings five days after giving up eight runs in 1 1/3.

"It's just kind of a process. It's not the first time I've had two bad games in a row, so we'll just keep going until it kind of sharpens up."

I guess that’s the mantra for this Reds team the rest of the season…

On the bright side, Joey Votto continues to mash.

He hit a pair of home runs last night to run his total to 23.

After struggling through the first half last season, he enters the last day of June batting .308 with a National League-best 1.040 OPs.

Now just imagine if he has a second half like he did last year...

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Meanwhile, Adam Duvall is looking to finish out a big month of June, but he isn't expecting another invite to the Home Run Derby.

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