Homer Bailey showed significantly decreased velocity and struggled through three terrible innings last night before leaving his start against Arizona with dizziness.
It wasn’t even mentioned until the seventh paragraph of John Fay’s game story in the Cincinnati Enquirer, but Bailey’s comments afterward sure make it seem like it’s a bigger deal:
I felt a little bit of light-headedness. I had a big headache. I thought my hat might be too tight. How many did I walk? Twenty? I had trouble keeping balance.
According to Fay he was “checked out by the Reds’ medical staff” and told to simply rest, but Bailey tossed eight innings of dominant, shutout ball in his previous start five days earlier and there’s no indication why he experienced “light-headedness” and “a big headache” while having “trouble keeping balance.”
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports (this time in the 10th paragraph of his game story) that Bailey was given Dramamine “to settle his symptoms” after coming out of the game. Hopefully it’s indeed just a one-time thing, because Bailey has pitched well since rejoining the Reds’ rotation a month ago, posting a 3.62 ERA and 31/7 K/BB ratio in 37 innings prior to last night.
Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.
Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.
Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.
As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.