No Joey Votto as Reds prepare for San Francisco Giants


The San Francisco Giants play the Cincinnati Reds tonight at Great American Ball Park for the first time this season.  Though the Giants are the traveling team, it is the Reds who still cart around with them a fair amount of baggage, stemming from the 2012 postseason, in which the Giants came from behind in the National League Division Series to stun the Reds, three games to two.  The Giants went on to win the World Series.

Since they went down in such an ignoble fashion, losing a five-game series for the first time in postseason play, after taking the first two games in the opponent’s yard, and then returning home to lose three in a row, the Reds have sought revenge.  In fact, some of the Reds’ dominance over the Giants in regular-season play, dates back to 2010.

That’s when the Reds’ current streak of winning ten of its last eleven games at Great American began.  Of course, that streak pertains to the regular season only, because of that postseason sweep by San Francisco.

Last year, the Reds won six of seven, and have taken eight out of the last ten regular-season games against the Orange and Black.  To add insult to the lop-sided win-loss accounting, the Giants also suffered the embarrassment of being no-hit by Homer Bailey last July 2nd.

May 7, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey (34) pitches during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Interestingly enough, just to spice up the first match of the season, the baseball gods have arranged that Homer Bailey will face the same pitcher tonight that he faced the night he threw his no-no, Tim Lincecum.  On top of that, Timmy has never beaten Cincinnati, going 0-3 against the only National League team he’s never gotten the best of.  He has an 8.65 ERA in five starts against the Reds.

After beginning their last road trip 1-3, which included having Hyun-jin Ryu retire the first twenty-one batters in a game eventually won by the Dodgers, 4-3, the Reds rebounded, taking four of their last five to complete a winning road trip.

Right fielder Jay Bruce is back in the lineup for the Reds, after being sidelined with a torn meniscus in his left knee, but neither Joey Votto nor Mat Latos will see action this series.

The Reds have played only three of their last sixteen games at home, going 8-8 over that stretch, so they will be looking to feast on some home cooking.  Unfortunately for them, they face the team with the best record in baseball.

The Giants just took three of four from another team they torched in that 2012 postseason, the St. Louis Cardinals.  Prior to that, the Giants took two of three from the Chicago Cubs and swept the Minnesota Twins.

Granted, the Cubs and Twins are not contenders, but excellent teams dominate the weaker teams, and that’s what the Giants did.  Furthermore, the Giants continue to hike up the measuring stick, finding ways to win even when some of their best players are hampered by injuries.

The Giants were 19-9 in May and are 28-5 when scoring first this season.  Before they journeyed to St. Louis and stifled the Cards, pundits all said that this was a telling series, and that we would find out more about the mettle of San Francisco.

And we did.  Now, if the Giants can flex their new-found offensive prowess against a team which has grown accustomed to having success against them, the Reds will need to keep that excess baggage handy.  No point in going out and getting new suitcases, when the old ones are still so readily available. 

Oct 11, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) hits a grand slam in the fifth inning against the Cincinnati Reds in game five of the 2012 NLDS at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE