The right-hander, who had shown much improvement amid his second Major League stint of the season, instead looked more like the confused young pitcher he was during the first. Bailey struggled with his command and gave up a career-high 15 hits as the Reds fell to the Rockies, 5-1, at Great American Ball Park on Saturday night.
The beneficiary of three outfield assists -- including two plays at the plate -- Bailey somehow carried a 1-1 tie into the fifth inning before surrendering four runs on six consecutive base hits to put the game out of reach.
He struggled with his location, hung sliders over the plate and gave up a two-run single to Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa that served as the proverbial dagger and spelled the end of his short, 4 2/3-inning performance.
"My slider was kind of flat today, so I guess it's still a work in progress," Bailey said. "Nonetheless, I think there were a couple times when I was 0-2 or 1-2 and should have buried it, but I didn't bury it and threw it right into the middle. Other than that, it was just one of those days, guys. Everybody has them, but I just seem to have more of them than others."
He had three of those days in a three-start stint with the Reds in June. During that stretch, Bailey totaled just 12 1/3 innings, went 0-3 and watched his ERA balloon to 8.76 before being optioned to Triple-A Louisville. He got a second chance July 12 when he was recalled to replace the injured Aaron Harang's spot in the rotation.
For two starts, Bailey didn't seem like that bad of a replacement. He gave up just two runs on five hits through 5 2/3 innings on July 13 at Milwaukee, and surrendered three runs on eight hits through 6 1/3 innings on Monday against the Padres. In those two games -- both would-be wins had it not been for blown saves -- he decreased his ERA by more than two runs and nearly matched his innings total from his three starts before.
Before Saturday's game, Reds manager Dusty Baker was asked whether he'd seen improvement in Bailey's game. Baker said yes, but immediately followed by saying Bailey "needed to stick with the program and not revert back."
Just a few hours later, though, Bailey (0-4) had indeed reverted back. And instead of continuing with his improvement, he'd regressed. He's still without a win -- on any level -- since April 30.
"They were teeing off on him big-time," Baker said. "A lot of them were in the heart of the plate, not high, not low. He hung a couple sliders. He just wasn't making quality pitches tonight. You've got to be better than that."
For Bailey, the trouble started early. After getting Willy Taveras to pop out on the game's first pitch, he allowed the next three batters to reach safely, only to be saved when Clint Barmes was caught stealing and Garrett Atkins popped out in foul territory.
He surrendered back-to-back one-out singles in the second, and De La Rosa's sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third. Edwin Encarnacion muffed a ground ball and drew Joey Votto off the bag with the throw as the runner scored from third.
Bailey put runners first and second with one out in the fourth, but Jay Bruce fielded Taveras' single to center and threw out Yorvit Torrealba at the plate. Ken Griffey Jr. tied the game at 1 with career home run No. 607 in the bottom of the inning.
But after allowing just one run on nine hits through four innings, Bailey finally ran into trouble. He surrendered six consecutive singles, the final one coming at the hands of De La Rosa, who entered the at-bat just 1-for-20 at the plate this season.
"The big hit was the one by [De La Rosa]," Baker said. "That made it 5-1. I didn't want to burn a guy in my bullpen to get the pitcher out. He was 1-for-20 as a hitter this year, but that was a big one."
Cincinnati managed just two hits, the second one not coming until Adam Dunn's single in the seventh.
"We didn't have a bunch of offense and didn't play very good defense tonight, either," Baker said. "We just didn't play a very good game."
Brandon Harris is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.