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Homer Bailey solid in 6 IP, Reds lose to Rockies 8-2

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It was the bullpen. They did it.

MLB: Spring Training-Cincinnati Reds at Los Angeles Angels Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Just a few hours after being officially named the Opening Day starter for the Cincinnati Reds, Homer Bailey took the mound for what will most certainly be his final Cactus League appearance of the spring. The righty looked decent, too, firing 6 innings of 3 ER ball, though he did have to scatter 9 hits while striking out only 2 on 83 total pitches.

The Reds jumped out to an early lead against the Colorado Rockies, but homers from Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez blemished Bailey’s line in 4th inning before Zack Weiss and Kevin Quackenbush - both of whom are competing against each other for the final spot in the team’s bullpen - were lit up late, ultimately resulting in an 8-2 Reds loss.

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Billy Hamilton had perhaps his single best game of the spring, going 2 for 4 with a triple, a double, a run scored, and a ribbie, and he also tracked down several deep fly balls in CF (as he is wont to do).

That he did so from the leadoff spot - again - is probably worth pointing out, too, since it’s these kind of games where his ceiling makes you really, truly wish he could hammer down that spot for good. Of course, four plus years of suggesting today is more the exception than the rule is argument enough for the other side.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Bailey, who would look decent as a 3rd-4th starter with what he provided today (and added a double and run scored at the plate); and Jesse Winker, who singled in a run.

Key Plays

  • The Reds jumped on Rockies starter Kyle Freeland immediately, as Hamilton opened the Top of the 1st with a triple and scored a batter later on Winker’s RBI single. Reds led, 1-0.
  • Hamilton struck again in the Top of the 3rd, doubling off the wall in LF to plate Homer after his leadoff double. Reds led, 2-0.
  • DJ LeMahieu singled off Homer in the Bottom of the 4th, and he scored a batter later when Nolan Arenado hit what initially looked like a routine pop-fly that carried, carried, and carried until it landed just beyond the LF fence for a 2-run dong. Carlos Gonzalez then followed by chomping on a hanging curveball for a laser of a solo dinger, and the Reds were quickly behind 3-2.
  • Weiss needed 28 pitches to record only 2 outs in the Bottom of the 7th, as he walked a pair and allowed a hit to allow a pair of earned runs, leaving the Reds behind 5-2.
  • While Weiss struggled with his location, Quackenbush struggled with keeping his pitches off of the plate. He allowed 5 hits in his inning of work, and that led to 3 ER from the Rockies in the Bottom of the 8th, all insurance runs as the Cincinnati bats stayed quiet. That, folks, is how the Reds ended up losing 8-2.

Other Notes

  • Buried a bit in the earlier announcement that Homer Bailey would be Cincinnati’s Opening Day starter - that Sal Romano has officially made the rotation, as Mark Sheldon reported. That should’ve been a no-brainer, but it’s still something that’s obviously a big deal for ol’ Sal.
  • Cody Reed pitched in a minor league game today, and as The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans relayed, he had a slightly-better-than-average-Cody-Reed-esque line.
  • The Reds will host the San Diego Padres on Saturday in Goodyear, and Brandon Finnegan will be their starting pitcher. First pitch is set for 4:05 PM ET, though there won’t be a TV feed, unfortunately.
  • Tunes.