Bailey pitches series opener for Reds vs. Pirates

With a rainout Tuesday and a day off Wednesday, the Cincinnati Reds had a chance to adjust their plan for their starters. But manager Bryan Price decided he didn’t want to alter anything for Homer Bailey.

The right-hander will start as previously scheduled for Cincinnati (1-3) on Thursday in the opener of a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates (4-1) at PNC Park.

Bailey, who carried a 6.30 ERA since 2015 into this season, was handed the ball for the Reds’ season opener Friday. He didn’t win — Cincinnati was shut out by Washington 2-0 — but he pitched well enough to impress Price, allowing one earned run and four hits in six innings, with three walks and three strikeouts.

“It’s a great thing,” Price said of his first look at Bailey in the regular season. “It’s the first time he started the season healthy since 2014. It’s been a while. He had a really good idea of what he wanted to accomplish in spring training. That was to get command of his fastball and re-introduce the curveball to his mix. … He really had all of his pitches and very, very good fastball command.

“If this is a sign of things to come, it’s a heck of a first start.”

Yes and no, Bailey said.

“I think I’ll be more satisfied when we pull out a win,” he said. “At the end of the day, you can look at, you threw well. But it’s still (a loss). That’s what’s most important. … To be satisfied with a good loss in not in my nature.”

Going with Bailey means the Reds will skip Cody Reed’s start in the rotation. He probably will go Monday at Philadelphia.

Cincinnati outfielder Scott Schebler could return. He left Monday’s game because of a right elbow contusion.

Bailey (0-1, 1.50 ERA) is 10-6 with a 3.39 ERA in 21 career starts against the Pirates. He will face Pittsburgh left-hander Steven Brault (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Brault began the season in the bullpen and got the win in the Pirates’ season opener when he pitched three innings of scoreless relief.

That’s not what earned him the start Thursday. Pittsburgh elevated Brault when newcomer Joe Musgrave went on the 10-day disabled list Monday because of a muscle strain in his right (throwing) shoulder.

Musgrave was acquired from Houston in the offseason in the Gerrit Cole trade, and there is anticipation over what he might bring to the rotation, but he had shoulder discomfort at the start of training camp and it never completely dissipated.

“When you talk to Joe (he) is going to say, ‘I want to pitch,’ ” Pittsburgh director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said. “But it wasn’t in his best interest to grind through this this early in the season.

“Could he go out and pitch? Sure, but as the innings went on, the volume built up, he probably wouldn’t be as efficient, and (it) could potentially lead to further injury. This will give us and him the best opportunity to have a successful 2018 season.”

Brault is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in one career start against the Reds in September 2016.

The Pirates were the last undefeated team in the major leagues before a 7-3 loss Wednesday against Minnesota amid persistent snow flurries at PNC Park.