Nominally, Homer Bailey was the Reds’ fourth starter last year. But down the stretch and into the playoffs, Bailey did a mean imitation of an ace.

Over eight starts, he went 442/3 innings and allowed 10 runs (2.01 ERA) on 28 hits. He struck out 58 and walked 10. He pitched a no-hitter along the way. He held the world champion San Francisco Giants to one hit over seven innings. He struck out a Reds playoff record 10 and walked one in that outing.

Bailey, the great right-handed hope for the Reds for so long, seemed to finally arrive. Bailey, 26, went 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA over 33 starts. He set career-highs for wins, starts (33), innings (208), strikeouts (168) and complete games (two).

Bailey turned the potential the Reds saw in him going back to 2004, when they made him the seventh pick overall in the draft, into production.

“Being healthy was probably the biggest thing,” Bailey said. “That and the momentum that starts building up when the team does well. You just kind of run with it.”