Former first-round pick Homer Bailey eyes a second straight strong start to begin the season on Wednesday when the Cincinnati Reds close out a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
The seventh overall selection in the 2004 draft, Bailey had his best season as a big-leaguer in 2012, winning a career-best 13 times in 33 starts, including a late September no-hitter at Pittsburgh.
He opened the new season with similar success, allowing just two hits in six scoreless innings of a 15-0 schellacking of the Washington Nationals on April 5.
Bailey's career against the Cardinals hasn't been quite so splendid, resulting in just a 3-7 record across 13 starts with a 5.00 earned run average in 68 1/3 innings.
He last faced the Cardinals in his final appearance of 2012 and pitched four scoreless innings of four hit ball - with no walks and six strikeouts - in a game the Reds lost, 1-0.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, go with veteran righty Jake Westbrook, who won 13 games in his second full season with St. Louis in 2012.
He was 12-9 with the Cardinals in 2011 and 13-11 last season, but dropped his initial start of 2013 after allowing an unearned run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 1-0 loss at San Francisco on April 5.
Westbrook is 3-2 in 10 career meetings with the Reds.
On Tuesday, Lance Lynn allowed just one run in six innings to help the Cardinals to a 5-1 victory.
Lynn (1-0) added 10 strikeouts and allowed just four hits and one walk for St. Louis, which evened the series at one game apiece.
"I was really impressed with what Lynn was able to do," said manager Mike Matheny. "He had good action on his fastball and it was fun to watch."
Matt Adams gave the Cardinals the lead with a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the sixth inning. Matt Carpenter added two hits and two runs scored.
After the game, Adams explained, "Runner in scoring position, I just wanted to get something elevated and get the barrel on it."
Bronson Arroyo (1-1) tossed five perfect innings before losing his composure in the sixth. He left the game after six having allowed four runs on five hits while striking out just two.
"You knew they were going to make a push," Arroyo said.
Shin-Soo Choo had two singles to lead Cincinnati, which was held without an extra base hit.
The Cardinals won eight of 15 games with the Reds in 2012, including four of six in St. Louis.