The Reds have lost 11 of the last 12 games thanks to awful starting pitching, but have no fear Reds fans (or maybe a little less fear): Help is on the way.
Veteran starting pitcher Homer Bailey could return on Saturday and the team is calling up prospect Luis Castillo to make his Major League debut on Friday.
Starter Brandon Finnegan likely is not far behind Bailey.
But just getting Bailey -- the Reds' highest paid pitcher and most veteran starter -- should provide a big boost.
Bailey was 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA in 2012 and 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA in 2013 before he began to have injury issues. In 2015 and 2016, he combined to make eight starts.
But after three successful minor league rehabilitation starts, Bailey should be back to normal, long time Reds reporter John Fay said on this week's Fifth Mascot podcast.
"He's going to come in. He's going to challenge people. He's going to throw strikes," Fay said. "He's throwing hard. I don't think you can expect him to be the ace of the staff right away. But this is a guy with a great track record. I think you can expect him to be typical Home Bailey."
Fay said manager Bryan Price reports that when he has watched Bailey throw in his side bullpen sessions that Bailey looks like the same pitcher he was before the injuries.
"He's going to be more effective than the guys who they had in there previously. I'd go out on a limb on that," Fay said.
Then there is Castillo. The 24-year-old is moving from Double A Pensacola directly to the Reds. He might only make a start or two, Fay said. The Reds acquired Castillo when they traded Dan Strailly to the Marlins earlier this year.
Castillo is 4-4 with a 2.58 ERA at Pensacola. But while other rookie pitchers have struggled with control, Castillo has 81 strikeouts and only 13 walks in more than 80 innings pitched.
Fay has said the Reds need to be aiming for a .500 season. The returning starting pitchers and shakeup of the rotation should help the team improve. But at 30-41 through Wednesday's game, a .500 season might be a challenge to achieve.
"To play 10 games over .500 the rest of the way is a bit difficult," Fay said.