Homer Bailey has thrown two no-hitters for the Cincinnati Reds. He has started two postseason games. From 2007-17, he started 192 games for the Reds.
One thing he had not done until Friday was start on Opening Day. Bailey made the most of his first chance, allowing one run on four hits in six innings, albeit in a losing effort. The Washington Nationals blanked the Reds 2-0.
Despite his extensive experience in a Reds uniform, this wasn’t just another game for Bailey. This one felt different. He knows how much Opening Day means to the city. The largest crowd in the regular-season history of Great American Ball Park (43,878) came out on a chilly day.
“Great energy today from the fans here,” Bailey said. “To me, those are the games you live for to play. Kudos to them for coming out and really being behind us.”
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Bailey is the fourth different starter in a row the Reds have used on Opening Day, following Johnny Cueto (2015), Raisel Iglesias (2016) and Scott Feldman (2017)
After giving up a run in the first — Springfield native Adam Eaton led off the game with a single and scored on a fielder’s choice groundout — Bailey pitched five scoreless innings. He walked three and struck out three.
This was a strong start by Bailey coming off a season in which he was 6-9 with a 6.43 ERA. He looked like the Bailey of August and September, when he was 2-3 with a 3.58 ERA in seven starts, and not the one of early last season when he was trying to regain his form after missing most of the previous two seasons with injuries.
“I think I’ll be more satisfied when we pull out a win,” Bailey said. “At the end of the day, you can look at, ‘Well, you threw well,’ but it’s still an ‘L,’ and that’s what’s important. I’m not really happy with the results because of the loss, and that’s the end of it. Every game you can find things you did well or find things you didn’t do well. To be satisfied with a good loss it’s just not really in my nature or the rest of this staff.”
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Bailey’s performance satisfied manager Bryan Price, who needs the veteran Bailey to be a consistent presence on a young staff that right now has four other starters between the ages of 23 and 25.
“I’m not going to ask anything more for Opening Day,” Price said. “It was six really good innings.”
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