The Giants have four games in Cincinnati and you can roll the 2012 NLDS tape all series long, heck you can even roll Games 1 and 2 because we know there’s a happy ending. Just don’t show anything from Game 5 that’s after Buster Posey‘s grand slam and before Sergio Romo‘s last pitch to Scott Rolen because all that took years off of my life. The lineup for the Champs, who I’m sure will be welcomed back to Great American Ballpark with open arms, mostly because they have been on an abysmal stretch lately:
Tonight’s #SFGiants lineup: Blanco CF, Scutaro 2B, Posey C, Sandoval 3B, Pence RF, Belt 1B, Torres LF, Crawford SS, Kickham LHP
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 1, 2013
Looks like all the regulars are in there, with rookie Mike Kickham coming back for more against a good swinging team:
The Reds have their top three on base percentage guys in the top three spots of the lineup with Joey Votto (3rd, .439), Shin-Soo Choo (2nd, .418), and Derrick Robinson (3rd, .350). This squad also has four guys with double digit homers in Jay Bruce (18), Votto (14), Choo (12), and Brandon Phillips (11), so you’re starting to see the reasons why they were at the very least a pre-season favorite to win the Central. I doubt many Giants fans will take the Reds lightly since they remember most of these players and how good they are. With the lefty Kickham taking the mound tonight, we really only have two starts to go off of, but we’re going to take a look at his pitch usage for the year:
Well now, that’s a lot of fastballs and sliders from the kid, with the sinker and changeup sprinkled in to RHH, and you can see that with two strikes, it’s a coin flip between whether you get a fastball or a slider. Still a relatively small sample size to work with when it comes to looking at what Kickham does, but you can understand why it might be a little tougher for him when he starts going through the order for the second or third time, and if one of his pitches doesn’t show up, it would definitely make for a long night. For RHP Bronson Arroyo, we see that he is much more of a sinker, curve, changeup kind of guy, with the four-seamer getting used sparingly equally in different situations for the most part. You can see some of his tendencies below, especially with the curveball, but he really makes you guess between the four pitches he’ll use.
Arroyo got knocked around in Oakland, and it was only the third time this year he’s gone less than six innings, which I’m sure the bullpen appreciates for the year. Kickham hopes to get through the sixth inning for the first time in his young MLB career tonight. Other notes on other things, including some on Ryan Vogelsong:
The beat writers were saying Vogey’s hand was swollen in Denver, so this is pretty good to hear, and you can imagine Ryan was itching to get back to playing, like most people that enjoy baseball would feel if they were kept out of it for a while.
Vogelsong didn’t feel any pain or irritation in hand and ball was coming out of his hand well. Said, “This is a good step for me.” — Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 1, 2013
In other NL West news, this might be an interesting turn of events:
— Bruce Levine (@ESPNBruceLevine) July 1, 2013
In case you missed it from previous articles here at AtF, Buster Posey got the NL Player of the Week, and a couple names in the farm system were promoted. Melissa also provided some happy memories for you, as long as you’re a Giants fan.
The series begins at 4:10 PM PST at GABP as the skies look to clear up in Cincinnati after many were wondering if the thunderstorms were going to play a bigger role in dictating play in Monday’s matchup.