Game 1: Reds 5, Giants 2
Game 2: Reds (Arroyo) at Giants (Bumgarner), 6:30 p.m.
Game 3: Giants (TBA) at Reds (TBA), 2:30 p.m.
Game 4: Giants at Reds, TBA, if necessary
Game 5: Giants at Reds, TBA, if necessary
San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey hits a solo home run in the sixth inning of Game 1 of the National League division baseball series against the Cincinnati Reds in San Francisco, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Giants have had to endure something they’ve never had to endure before — a Game 1 loss at home in the National League Division Series.
In fact, the Giants have only lost a Game 1 in the NLDS once, and that was in 1997 when they were swept by the Marlins, 3-0.
Not a good omen.
The Reds lost their starting pitcher to back spasms two batters into the game, but it was the Reds who came away with a 5-2 victory.
When Matt Cain gave up a two-run home run to Brandon Phillips, it was the first earned runs allowed by Cain in the postseason over his career, a stretch of 23.1 innings.
It also marked the first time since the eighth inning of Game 1 of the 2002 NLDS against the Braves that a Giants pitcher had allowed a run of any kind in the opening game of a Division Series.
Remember, Tim Lincecum threw a shut against the Braves 1-0 in Game of the 2010 NLDS. Jason Schmidt threw a three-hit shutout of the Marlins in a 2-0 win in the 2003 NLDS.
The Giants beat the Braves 8-5 in Game 1 of the 2002 NLDS. Before that, Livan Hernandez and two relievers beat the Mets 5-1 in Game 1 of the 2000 NLDS.
The games in 2000, 2003 and 2010 were at home, when Giants pitching allowed one run.
Cain doubled the output with one pitch. Jay Bruce later added another blast to make it 3-0, and that pretty much was it. Buster Posey homered in the sixth. After the Reds added on two runs in the ninth, the Giants scraped across one run on Aroldis Chapman (there could be some confidence boost in that), the game ended with a Posey strikeout when he represented the tying run.
Now, we try to find some silver linings in the loss.
The Reds did lose Cueto, who was later diagnosed with back spasms. His listed as day-to-day. That means he could pitch Game 3 Tuesday in Cincinnati, but we doubt it.
Latos, who was scheduled to pitch Game 3, threw 57 pitches on Saturday, so it’s doubtful the Reds will bring him back on two days rest, especially after getting the win Saturday. The thought process might have changed if the Reds had lost.
The most likely scenario is the Giants facing Bronson Arroyo in Game 2 Sunday, then Homer Bailey in Game 3 on Tuesday. Then the Reds could come back with Latos in Game 4 and, hopefully, Cueto in Game 5.
That’s the safest route.
But that puts more pressure on Madison Bumgarner and the Giants hitters to deliver on Sunday.
You never want to fall behind 2-0 in a best-of-5, regardless of the situation. But you REALLY don’t want to fall behind 2-0 when it means you have to win three games on the road to advance.
And the Giants REALLY REALLY don’t want to fall behind 2-0 when you are likely giving the ball to Tim Lincecum or Barry Zito in Game 3 in Cincinnati.
But if the Giants win Game 2 Sunday, they head to Cincinnati tied 1-1, which is exactly where they were after two games vs. the Braves two years ago. Then they went to Atlanta, won both games and advanced.
Other things to consider:
- The Giants also had a bunch a tough-luck outs — balls that were hit hard but were caught.
- With Cain out after five throwing 75 pitches, he could easily come back and pitch Game 4 Wednesday in Cincinnati.
- Chapman threw 28 pitches to get the last three outs.
So just win Sunday, and everything is fine.
But here’s some sobering history. The Giants have never won a Game 2 in the NLDS. They are 0-5. They lost to the Marlins in 1997 (7-6), to the Mets in 2000 (5-4 in 10), to the Braves in 2002 (7-3), to the Marlins in 2003 (9-5) and to the Braves in 2010 (5-4 in 11).