His Reds haven't had a bad month, either, ratting off a 10-game win streak in the midst of an 18-7 month entering Tuesday. According to manager Dusty Baker, a huge part of that success is a product of the strong chemistry in the Reds' clubhouse, one that outfielder Ryan Ludwick has called the best locker room he's ever been in.
"It makes it easier when guys are pulling for each other," Baker said. "We've got a bunch of good guys in there and whoever is not playing is pulling for the guy who's playing."
Bailey would seem the perfect man to help Cincinnati close out the month in keeping with the team's winning July ways, but not just because of his own miserly month. The righty has been particularly stingy against the Padres, going 4-0 with a 3.35 ERA in six appearances, and already has a win against San Diego this month in a July 7 contest at Petco Park in which he gave up two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings and struck out eight. Padres' outfielder Chris Denorfia hit a leadoff home run on Bailey's first pitch of that game.
Hoping to help the Padres shake their winless ways against Bailey will be Jason Marquis, the veteran starter who had one of his best outings of the year in his last start. The righty retired 16 straight Giants at one point, going 7 1/3 innings while striking out eight, and walking just one to earn the victory. That win was his third straight, though his last loss came against the Reds at Petco Park on July 8. Marquis lasted just five innings in that game, yielding three runs.
If history is any indication, Marquis should be getting some decent support from his offense Tuesday. The Padres are hitting .282 in 29 games all time at the Great American Ball Park, and averaging over six runs per game. San Diego has been swinging a big stick as well recently, scoring six or more runs 12 times already in July, including Monday night's 11-run outburst.
Padres: Thatcher to the DL
The Padres announced Monday that they have placed reliever Joe Thatcher on the disabled list retroactive to July 26 with right knee tendinitis. The club called up righty Brad Boxberger from Triple-A Tucson to replace Thatcher on the roster and in the bullpen.
The lefty Thatcher is 0-4 with a 3.42 ERA and 28 strikeouts over 40 appearances this season. A prototypical and reliable lefty specialist, 12 of those 40 appearances have seen the 30-year-old face just one batter.
Boxberger has struck out 55 batters in 38 2/3 innings in Tucson, and threw 1 1/3 innings of scoreless ball Monday night, striking out two. He made his Major League debut against the Brewers at Miller Park on June 10. With the addition of Boxberger to the 25-man roster, the Padres now have all four pieces received in the Mat Latos trade with the Reds on their active roster for the first time, a fitting occurrence given their opponent this week.
Reds: No Votto, no problem
Reds first baseman Joey Votto was hitting .342 with 14 homers, 36 doubles and an on-base percentage of .465 prior to going down with a knee injury. But while he may be putting up MVP-type numbers, the Reds don't seem to mind the loss of their superstar, having gone 11-2 in his absence. Obviously, Cincinnati will be excited for the return of the 2010 NL MVP, who had arthroscopic knee surgery July 17 to repair a torn medial meniscus in his left knee. But in the meantime, Todd Frazier has been filling in admirably.
Frazier, who had last night off, has played nine of the team's 14 games at first since Votto's injury. Frazier is the NL's rookie leader in slugging percentage and triples, and second in home runs and extra-base hits. He has also done a fine job defensively, impressive when one considers the 26-year-old had just one career appearance at first prior to this stretch.
When asked if he thought his club could play this well without its star, Reds' manager Dusty Baker said, "You can dream it but that doesn't mean it's going to happen. I dream all the time. You just hope that we continue to play well."
When Bailey makes his start Tuesday, the Reds will have used just five starting pitchers (Bailey, Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, Latos, Mike Leake) through 102 games this season. According to Elias, that is the team's longest streak since 1898, when the Reds' staff lasted 147 games with just five starters.
35 of Reds' closer Aroldis Chapman's last 46 outs recorded have been strikeouts.
Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday's game, the Padres have made July their first winning month of the season, with a 15-10 record so far.