Archive for the ‘Cincinnati Reds’ Category

The San Francisco Giants are the first team to clinch a spot in the next round of the playoffs after their 6-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. It’s quite likely that as recently as Tuesday, the Giants would’ve seemed the least likely to advance from their division series. However, baseball.

In what started as a pitching duel between starters Mat Latos of Cincinnati and Matt Cain of San Francisco turned into something of a shootout in the top of the fifth inning when the Giants put up a crooked six on the scoreboard, thanks mainly to a heroic triple from Brandon Crawford and a grand slam from Buster Posey. This was followed by the Reds getting two runs back in the bottom half of the inning with a Brandon Phillips double, and then another run off a solo home run from Ryan Ludwick in the bottom of the sixth. A run in the bottom of the ninth made things stressfully close, but it simply wasn’t enough.

Not wanting to make the same mistake that his counterpart did in leaving his starting pitcher in too long, San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy went to his bullpen and called on effective relief from George Kontos, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez (somewhat) and Sergio Romo (although, nervously). They, along with stellar defensive efforts from Brandon Crawford and Angel Pagan held off the charge of the Reds with the tying run coming to the plate on four separate occasions after the fifth inning.

It was all a truly excellent game.

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And one game shall rule them all. The San Francisco and Cincinnati Reds need the fifth game of a best-of-five National League Division Series to decide whose season will continue and whose season will end. This is a surprising premise for several reasons:

  • The Reds won the first two games of the series on the road;
  • Through the majority of the series, the Giants have had little-to-absolutely-zero offense; and
  • With their season on the line, San Francisco started left-handed meat-baller Barry Zito against one of the better offenses in the National League.

Despite all of this, we come to today, and the Giants get to start their team’s best pitcher with a well-rested bullpen against a Cincinnati lineup that includes a less than 100% Joey Votto. While Brandon Phillips looked good against Cain in Game One, and he certainly remains a threat, this has to bode well for hopeful Giants fans assembling around television sets this afternoon (and morning for those on the West Coast).

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After the San Francisco Giants beat the Cincinnati Reds in Game Two of their National League Division Series, the celebration was quickly subdued by the prospect of a Game Four in which Barry Zito would pitch against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Neither the opposition nor the location tend to favor the Giants, so even after winning a game in which they collected a total of three hits, the task ahead of the team only got marginally easier. They still had to win two straight games in Cincainnati.

Standing in their way was not only be one of the best lineups in the National League, but also Mike Leake, who joined the Cincinnati Reds after the team removed Johnny Cueto from its NLDS roster, following an injury suffered in the first game of the series. Leake is no Cueto. However, as has been established by the last several seasons of baseball, Zito isn’t exactly the most reliable of starting pitchers.

In other words, if you took the over for Wednesday’s game, you were in luck. If you were a San Francisco Giants fan who took the over, you were in even more luck.

The National League Division Series between the Giants and Reds is all tied up at two, after San Francisco beat Cincinnati 8-2 on the backs of an outstanding relief appearance from Tim Lincecum and a 2 for 3 (with two walks) day from center fielder Angel Pagan.

Here’s why the Giants and Reds will be going the distance in their NLDS tomorrow afternoon:

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There’s still a glimmer of hope for a Bay Bridge World Series.

The San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics won close contests on Tuesday night, and stayed alive in their best-of-five Division Series. The Giants entered the game against the Cincinnati Reds down two games to none, and eked out a 2-to-1 road victory in ten innings. The A’s lost the first two games of the series on the road but beat the Detroit Tigers 2-to-0 before a raucous home crowd at the Oakland Coliseum.

Both teams won with superb pitching, outstanding defense, and just enough offense. Both teams will need to repeat that formula in today’s action to force a decisive Game 5 on Thursday.

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For a small portion of today, while not in front of a computer, I walked around the downtown of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, wearing a pumpkin orange San Francisco Giants jersey.  Instead of the typical indifference from the masses that inhabit a large metropolitan area, my jersey garnered sympathetic attention. On each street corner I was greeted with something close to condolences from passers by.

I’d like to think that this was the sole result of my outfit for today, but I’m afraid to suggest that it also might have something to do with my defeated countenance. Always the realist, I have my doubts that the 2012 version of the San Francisco Giants will be able to do what no other visiting team has done this year to the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park: win three games in a row.

They began this seemingly futile quest on the right foot today by beating the Reds 2-1 in a positively thrilling game, with excellent pitching and the type of tension that creates increased heart rates. Here’s how it all happened:

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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.

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There are several story lines to follow in the National League Division Series featuring the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants. However, there isn’t one easy overarching narrative to bring us all together in the way that television broadcasters like. There isn’t a clear underdog or a franchise that has pulled itself out of talent obscurity to unexpectedly find success.

Both these teams were among the favorites at the beginning of the season to win their respective divisions, and while other post season clubs were fooling around during the last week of the regular season schedule, the Giants and Reds were only worried about not coming under fire from the commissioner’s office for resting its regulars. They’re both good teams, and when one wins over the other, it can’t be seen as a surprise in any way.

Nonetheless, this won’t make the series any less dramatic or decrease the tension in any way. The excellence of baseball is found when tension is at its highest, and tension tends to get pretty high when two very good teams with similar expectations face off against each other. Just getting to the division series isn’t enough of an accomplishment for either of these clubs, and we’ll see that in every single pitch, every single swing and every single fielding play.

It’s playoff baseball at its finest, and for tonight, it was scheduled to take place in the finest of settings: AT&T Park in San Francisco. Here, Matt Cain would start for the Giants, and Johnny Cueto would counter for the Reds. Both pitchers, much like the teams that they play on, have had outstanding seasons, with little in terms of an advantage being given to either.

But right away, our expectations were rattled with Cueto coming out of the game early, and while none of the pitchers who came to relieve him in the following innings were at their sharpest, the Giants failed to capitalize in the same fashion that Brandon Phillips did for the Reds in their 5-2 victory to open up their NLDS against San Francisco. Seriously, watching this game, I kept imagining Phillips dragging every other player on his team across an imaginary finish line. He was amazing, both at the plate and in the field.

Unfortunately, as well as Posey played tonight, the Giants had no equal. Here’s how it all happened:

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