CINCINNATI — Homer Bailey played catch in the sun-splashed outfield at Great American Ball Park, his usual routine the day before a start. Nothing different at all, as far as the Texan let on.
"You guys," he said afterward, "it's just another game."
Uh-uh. Not buying it. Everyone knows the Cincinnati Reds' pitcher has a chance to exorcise a lot of bad postseason history — or add to it — with his next start.
Less than two weeks after he threw the 15th no-hitter in the history of baseball's first professional franchise, the 26-year-old Bailey has a chance to add another career moment. He can complete a division-series sweep of the San Francisco Giants tonight.
Up 2-0 in the series, the Reds need one more victory to advance, with as many as three chances left at home. It'll be a breakthrough if they get it.
Cincinnati hasn't won a home playoff game in 17 years, a span of futility etched into the franchise's storied history. Everyone remembers the Big Red Machine winning back-to-back World Series in 1975-76. The 1990 Nasty Boys team swept Oakland to win another.
Since then? Little more than heartbreak.
Cincinnati - San Fran.
NL Division Series (best of 5)
Cincinnati leads series, 2-0
Game 1: Reds 5, Giants 2
Game 2: Reds 9, Giants 0
Game 3: Today at Cincinnati, 3:30 p.m.
Game 4: Wednesday at Cincinnati, TBA*
Game 5: Thursday at Cincinnati, TBA*