With their Game 1 loss, the San Francisco Giants now sit in the unpretty scenario of winning three of four games, with three of those four remaining games on the road. By no stretch of the imagination is it impossible – in fact, winning three of four in the playoffs actually happens far more than one might assume – however – doing so in the given scenario is unprecedented given the current 2-3 format, now essentially 1-3 with the Giants’ loss last night.
In short, the Giants, backed by Madison Bumgarner in tonight’s Game 2 must depart for Cincinnati with a 1-1 series tie, as winning all three at Great American Ballpark to advance to the NLCS would be nothing short of a death sentence.
Thankfully, unlike last night, the Giants apparently seem to have some good luck on their side as Bumgarner’s lone start against the Reds this year might have been his best of the season. Mad Bum tossed a complete game, one hitter against the Reds back in June, striking out eight in the process and keeping his WHIP to a season low 0.33. Hoping to continue his success, Bumgarner must contain Ryan Hanigan and Brandon Phillips, the only two Reds to really ever have much success against the lengthy left hander. The majority of the Reds lineup hasn’t figured the native North Carolinian out as most of their power bats like Joey Votto, Scott Rolen, Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick are a combined 7 for 44 with one homer and six RBI.
For the Giants, who appeared to be offensively snake bitten last night, they must attack Reds starter Bronson Arroyo who holds a below average career 4,11 ERA in six career AT&T Park starts. Despite his 35+ innings in the China Basin, few current Giants have much of a track record against the high kicking Arroyo outside of Hunter Pence who sees the Florida native well. In 35 at-bat’s against Arroyo, Pence has twelve hits – including four doubles, a triple and two dingers. Angel Pagan appears to historically see Arroyo the worst of any Giant (who’s had extended AB’s) as he’s only 5 of 23, though he does have two round trippers out of those five hits.
Tonight’s momentum game will swing the series one way or the other – the Reds either returning home smelling blood, up 2-0, or the Giants saving face and turning the series into a best of three, which sounds much more encouraging than three straight elimination games.
First pitch is just after 6:30 locally.