Thanks in no small part to the bizarre home field advantage script flip, the Reds are very much in the driver’s seat as Game 2 of this NLDS series gets under way with young Madison Bumgarner tries to get his Giants back into the series against Bronson Arroyo of the Reds. Parkes and I (Drew) are splitting duty on this one, with Parkes providing the invaluable preamble below before bowing out to cover the Yanks/Orioles game.

We’ll watch to see how Bumgarner goes after Phillips tonight, but with Votto struggling since his return and the San Francisco pitcher typically being excellent against left handed batters anyway, this could be the most important matchup of the night.

And what a night it should be, join with us here for updates on all of the action, along with the best reactions from Twitter, and of course, a healthy share of those moving images that seem to be all the rage these days.

That’s a Wrap! 9-0 Reds

The Cincinnati Red are rare for a 97 win team in that they are somewhat below the radar. They absorbed the lose of their best player for half the summer and loaded up with talent, aiming for a long playoff run.

They aren’t past the Giants yet but the Red showed what makes them so tough: they compiled good at bats against a quality pitcher and let one of their durable starters compile outs. Not many would expect Bronson Arroyo to pitch as well as he did but pretty much any way he managed to give them seven innings would be enough. That he chose “Randy Johnson” mode — seven innings of one-hit ball, striking out four and throwing just 91 pitches — was icing on the cake.

Here’s how it all went down.

Preamble

In the first game of the National League Division Series between the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants, Brandon Phillips put on a batting, running and fielding clinic. If the playoffs were decided by the baseball equivalent of the punt, pass and kick competition, the Reds would’ve won the World Series for the next five years through Phillips’ efforts on Saturday night.

Because of this, there will be an added emphasis on how Giants starter Madison Bumgarner attacks the Reds second baseman. The two players have only faced each other eight times, and unsurprisingly, the right-handed hitting Phillips has done well in a small sample against the left-handed Bumgarner, collecting three singles and a walk.

Here’s how Bumgarner has gone after Phillips, which is not a-typical for the pitcher, keeping the ball low in the zone, and using breaking pitches away, even if they are a little bit higher than what we’d normally see with Bumgarner.

While location doesn’t seem particularly different, we do see that Bumgarner shows Phillips a healthy amount of respect in his first pitch selection. Knowing that Phillips is a good fastball hitter, he stays away from the fastball more than usual, and exhibits an unusual willingness to pitch backwards.

Pregame Notes

The biggest news pregame had less to do with tonight than the rest of the series: Tim Lincecum will work out of the Giants bullpen. After a very disappointing start to the season, Timmy’s results were much better in the second half. The process was too much the same so manager Bruce Bochy made the tough decision to move Timmy to the pen.

Back to the lecture at hand: things are getting hyphy in SF!

Here are your lineups:

Cincinnati Reds San Francisco Giants
2B Brandon Phillips CF Angel Pagan
SS Zack Cozart 2B Marco Scutaro
1B Joey Votto 3B Pablo Sandoval
LF Ryan Ludwick C Buster Posey
RF Jay Bruce RF Hunter Pence
3B Scott Rolen 1B Brandon Belt
C Ryan Hanigan LF Gregor Blanco
CF Drew Stubbs SS Brandon Crawford
P Bronson Arroyo P Madison Bumgarner

First Inning!

Not a bad start for Madbum, who gets a foul pop and two straight strikeouts to inspire fear in the hearts of the Redlegs. Madbum’s extreme release point and natural movement makes him just straight death on lefties, as even Joey Votto was no match in the first inning.

File this under: “every tweet ever” and “things even Bronson Arroyo thinks.”

Other things Bronson Arroyo thinks: “I just set the Giants down in order. My leg is quite bendy. This ballpark is very pretty and very large, as the ball Pagan hit would have been out of the Great American Ballpark Twice.”

Second Inning! 1-0 Reds

Technology is a beautiful thing. Snot rockets are their own Marine Layer at AT&T Park.

Not quite as nice an inning for Bumgarner. Though it is only one pitch long, Ryan Ludwick took that lone pitch and blasted it over the wall in dead center field. The Reds now lead 1-0!

MadBum followed up the home run with a ground out and then a shocking four pitch walk of Scott Rolen. Warning signs aplenty? Nope. Bumgarner gets his business together in a hurry by striking out Ryan Hanigan and helping Drew Stubbs steer a line drive directly to Brandon Belt. The Reds are on the board, however. 1-0 Spaghettimen!

CHILDREN, HUSH. BUSTER IS WORKING. Aaaaand by working, I mean “rolling over on a thigh-high breaking ball off the plate.” Bronson Arroyo has naked pictures of ALL OF YOU. He crusies through the second inning, punctuating his work with a nasty curve for a whiff against Belt.

Third Inning! 1-0 Reds

One of the beauties of baseball is the contrasts inherent in the game. Another is the pure mathematics, the angles and shapes created by the field. Tonight is no different.

Some sort of cosmic swordfight, you know? Deep, man.

Since the mound visit following the Rolen walk, Bumgarner resumed garnering bums. Five straight retired in a highly impressive manner. This is the pitching duel we expected? Just go with it.

Bronson Arroyo has played forever for a reason. Tonight the reason is “he’s amazing.” The disembodied head of Tom Verducci just praised Arroyo’s ability to “add and subtract” with his pitches, to throw them at a variety of speeds. He is also getting many whiffs with his big curve, an invaluable weapon indeed. Bronson mows down the Giants in order, turning over the order untouched. Magic!

Fourth Inning! 4-0 Reds

Joey Votto exacts a measure of revenge in his second at bat, lining a single right back through the box. I think this Canadian kid has a future in this game. Ryan Ludwick has more of a past than a future but he follows Votto with another liner up the middle, placing two on with nobody out for Jay Bruce. Bruce hits into an ENTIRELY ROUTINE AND 100% BY THE BOOK INFIELD FLY. SPARE YOUR CARDS AND LETTERS.

Scott Rolen might not end up in Cooperstown when it is all said and done but he’s a damn fine ballplayer. The GBOAT bloops a soft single into shallow right field, scoring Votto from second base. Rolen advances on the throw, surely not an insignificant detail as now we get to see what we all came for: some MANAGIN’!

No time for managin’, there are hits to record! Ryan Hanigan follows Rolen with a first-pitch single to through the infield, cashing both runners. 4-0 Cincy! Four runs in the ballpark counts as 10.

Bumgarner escapes without further damage after a Drew Stubbs fielder’s choice and a twisting fly ball that Hunter Pence nearly plays into a debacle. Runs on the board, tho.

Should of started…

Bronson Arroyo might literally throw the kitchen sink up there trying to turn the lineup over once more. Via Brooks Baseball.

The Giants almost had their first baserunner of the night! Except they didn’t. Arroyo ran the count full to leadoff man Angel Pagan but, somewhat shockingly, came with a fastball! Pagan grounded out in a state of disbelief, I assume. Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval do no better, and Arroyo keeps rolling. Of course.

Fifth Inning! 4-0 Reds

Giants bullpen in full swing as Madison Bumgarner just doesn’t have it tonight. Badly missing his spots, falling behind and straight-up laboring on the mound. Pitch f/x suggests his velocity is slip sliding away.

Back-to-back hits from Cozart and Votto end the big lefty’s night. George Kontos comes in and, with one pitch, gets the Giants out of the jam after a slick double play by Brandon Crawford.

Look at what you’ve done, Madison. Buster Posey CAN’T EVEN LOOK AT YOU.

Belted! Brandon Belt gives the Giants their first base runner, lining single to right-center field. Ohbytheway, Tim Lincecum is getting loose in the Giants bullpen.

Sixth Inning! 4-0 Reds

And, like that, Bruce Bochy double-switches Tim Lincecum into the game. The YOLO scourge spreads west.

Timmy! Three up, three down on a long (long!) fly ball, a weaker grounder and a big strikeout. The AT&T is on its feet, cheering their stoned-ass hero.

Meanwhile, zero time Cy Young award winner Bronson Arroyo keeps on destroy the hopes and dreams of the San Francisco Giants. His curve earned him four straight Ks earlier in the game, the only strikeouts of the night. Since then he turned into some kind of ground ball savant, piling them up like hoarder. He’s been amazing.

Seventh Inning! 4-0 Reds

Timmy rolls through the bottom of the Reds order but the top is a different story. Brandon Phillips laces a two-out double down the left field line. With Joey Votto looming on deck, Zack Cozart is likely Lincecum’s last batter. We know one thing for sure: Cozart is the last batter of the top half of this inning. His soft grounder sends us to the stretch!

Your stretch music is…I dunno. Iron Maiden. For Timmy.

Buster Posey is sick of this poop! Buster Posey doesn’t like profanity but he does like walking, the first off Arroyo. Two out and a man on for Hunter Pence, who amassed a career high RBI despite putting up the worst “real” numbers of his career. His fly out doesn’t get it done.

Eighth Inning! 8-0 Reds

Welp. Sound the gong. Guillermo Mota relives Santiago Casilla (who faced one batter) and promptly gives up two consecutive hits (including a triple!) and we’re about done here.

That will about do it. As predicted, lefty specialist Jose Mijares comes in to face special left hander Joey Votto. Votto does what he does: he lines a single to right field. Then a walk to Ryan Ludwick and the situation is getting out of hand. Pinch runner for Ludwick and Jay Bruce doubles down the first base line, clearing the bases and making this game not so much “in doubt” anymore. 6-0 Reds!

Arroyo is done for the night and it is send in the clowns time in SF. Defensive subs and pinch hitters abound, I can’t begin to process the all the change. Great night for Bronson Arroyo, maybe one of the best starts of his long career?

I cannot make the same claim (hat tip to Captain Latte, who surely does not want her name associated with the below).

It’s been a long night for us all, Zach.

Ninth Inning! 9-0 Reds

Hey! Sergio Romo! He’s good. Too bad this is the lowest of leverage situations.

And still they persist. Marco Scutaro hits one inning after the Giants saw their first base runner reach the hallowed halls of “scoring position.” Rejoice! Jose Arredondo is pitching for the Reds. He used to be pretty good, I guess.

Pablo Sandoval cracks a double high off the wall in right field, ensuring the Giants don’t go without an extra base hit tonight. Buster Posey takes what could be his final home at bat of the year. Sniff sniff.

Posey walks but Pence grounds out and the game is over. The Reds go up 2-0 in the series with a dominant performance in San Francisco. Good night!