Game 1: Reds 5, Giants 2
Game 2: Reds 9, Giants 0
Game 3: Giants 2, Reds 1, 10 inn.
Game 4: Giants 8, Reds 3
Game 5: Giants (Cain) vs. Reds (Latos), 10:07 a.m. Thursday (TBS)
For the 13th consecutive time, the Giants won a game started by Barry Zito.
But like in a few other of the Zito’s previous 12 starts, the Giants won not because of him, but in spite of him.
Zito exited after 76 pitches in 2 2/3 innings, giving up two run on four hits, four walks. One of the runs the Reds scored off Zito came on three successive walks.
George Kontos came to clean up Zito’s mess in the third. When two Reds reached on infield singles in the fourth, Jose Mijares got Joey Votto, then Tim Lincecum entered.
This was the Tim Lincecum from Sunday’s game. The Tim Lincecum of the 2010 playoffs. The Tim Lincecum of the 2008 and 2009 Cy Young seasons.
Lincecum pitched 4.1 innings, giving up one run on two hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
He threw 55 pitches, 42 for strikes.
That goes with two scoreless innings he threw Sunday.
Combine the two relief efforts:
6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 hits, 0 BB, 8 K. 80 pitches, 59 for strikes.
If you compare that line with any of Lincecum’s starts this season, in some ways there’s no comparison.
Number of Lincecum starts this season with zero walks? None.
Number of Lincecum starts in which Lincecum allowed three or fewer hits: Three. But in all three, he walked four.
So what’s the difference between Lincecum start and Lincecum out of the pen? Timmy didn’t really say.
“Right now, I fee like times are different,” Lincecum told the San Jose Mercury-News. “We’re playing to get to the NLCS and further. So I feel that, with that motivation, I don’t think about the difference between starting and being in a bullpen situation. It’s just that I’ve got to get my outs and do my job.”
On the flip side of the game, the Giants’ offense finally woke up.
For a team that had four runs on 10 hits in the first three games, the Giants broke free for eight runs on 11 runs on Wednesday.
Home runs from Angel Pagan in the first and Gregor Blanco in the second gave the Giants’ an early 3-1 lead they would not relinquish.
In the seventh, Pablo Sandoval launched a long, two-run home run that measured an estimated 422 feet to seal the deal. I didn’t see where it landed, but it was headed to the Ohio River.
Since this is MoreSplashHits, we celebrate splash hits, even near splash hits on the road.
So here’s the video.
Now the Giants have become the first NL team to fall behind 2-0 in the Division Series to force a Game 5 by winning two road games.
They’ve already made history once, why not do it again, by becoming the first NLDS team to advance after falling behind 0-2.
Game 1: Reds 5, Giants 2
Game 2: Reds 9, Giants 0
Game 3: Giants 2, Reds 1
Game 4: Giants (Zito) at Reds (TBA), 1:07 p.m. Wednesday (TBS)
Game 5: Giants at Reds, 10:07 a.m. (or 11:07 a.m.), Thursday (TBS)
Incredibly, inexplicably, the Giants are not dead yet.
Buster Posey scored on an error by Reds third baseman Scott Rolen, who could not field a grounder off the bat of Joaquin Arias cleanly enough to throw him out with two out in the top of the 10th.
And the Giants won 2-1, despite the fact that they didn’t record their first hit until the sixth inning, despite the fact that they only managed three hits total, despite the fact that in seven of the 10 innings Tuesday the Giants went down in order, despite the fact that the Giants did not get a run-scoring hit.
The Giants still aren’t hitting, but they’re still playing.
They won because of a solid five outings from Ryan Vogelsong and five more shutout innings from the bullpen.
It was a very 2010 pitching performance.
But it was a very un-2010 performance by manager Bruce Bochy. Watching the game, we kept wondering if the skipper’s questionable move were eventually going to end the Giants’ hopes.
Ultimately, it was a questionable call by the former Giants manager in the Reds dugout that helped them win the game.
We’ll get to that eventually. But we’ll start with Vogelsong.
After giving up three singles and a run in the first inning, it looked like it was going to be another sub-par postseason outing by a Giants starter. Vogelsong was actually aided by Brandon Phillips’ decision to advance from first to third on a pitch that got away from catcher Buster Posey. Posey threw out Phillips at third for the inning’s first out.
After Zach Cozart walked and a Joey Votto fly out, Vogelsong gave up singles to Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce, scoring Cozart. But Vogey fanned Scott Rolen to end the inning.
But after the first, Vogelsong did not allow another hit to the Reds.
Meanwhile, the Reds’ Homer Bailey didn’t allow a hit to the Giants for 5 2/3 innings. But that didn’t keep the Giants off the board.
In the third, Gregor Blanco was hit by a pitch and Brandon Crawford walk. After a Vogelsong sacrifice, Angel Pagan flied to center to score Blanco.
From there it was a combination of heroes, botches by Bochy, and goofs by the Reds.
BOCHY BOTCH NO. 1: This one came even before the game started, before the series started, when Bochy decided to go with 12 pitchers on his postseason roster. He went with 11 in 2010, when he left Barry Zito off the roster. But this season, he decided to leave all five starters on the roster, meaning one would act as a long man out of the pen, completely negating the need to carry Guillermo Mota. The Giants would have been better off leaving Mota off the roster and carrying Francisco Peguero to give them a second reserve outfielder on the bench.
HERO NO. 1, RYAN VOGELSONG: Vogelsong settled down after the first, working around two walks in the third and setting down the final seven batters he faced. He finished with 5 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K.
BOCHY BOTCH NO. 2: With Vogelsong sailing and the Giants hitless, Bochy opted to pinch-hit for Vogey with Aubrey Huff leading off the sixth. TBS analyst Ron Darling said Bochy made the move because “the Giants can’t waste outs.” Well, that’s all they have been doing all weekend. The more important goal is keep the Reds from scoring. He should have let Vogelsong hit and stay in the game for another inning. He was at 95 pitches. But his high-pitch innings came early. Instead, Huff came to the plate and struck out. Now your starter is out, you’re digging in your dugout and one of your pinch-hitters is done. Marco Scutato got the Giants’ first hit two batters later.
HERO NO. 2, JEREMY AFFELDT: Affeldt came in relief of Vogelsong and threw two shutout innings, allowing just one hit. A shutdown performance very similar to Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS in Philadelphia.
BOCHY BOTCH NO. 3: When Reds manager Dusty Baker pulled Bailey after seven one-hit innings (and 10 strikeouts and just 88 pitches thrown — thank you Dusty), lefty Sean Marshall came in the game. With two lefties (Gregor Blanco and Brandon Crawford) and the pitcher’s spot due up, Bochy gutted his bench, sending up three pinch-hitters to hit to get the OVERRATED righty-lefty. I can see sending up two pinch-hitters, but not three, especially with only four players left on the bench. The best move would have been to let Blanco hit, keeping Xavier Nady in reserve. Instead, Nady, Joaquin Arias and Ryan Theriot were all retired.
HERO NO. 3, HUNTER PENCE: Pence was hitless — for the series — when he came to the plate in the top of the 10th. He fouled off a pitch and landed awkwardly on his left leg, which was cramping up. Trainers came out to talk to him and he stayed in the game, eventually slapping a single into left to put runners on first and second with no out. Pence hobbled to first. In the bottom of the 10th, Pence chugged a bottle of Gatorade and made his way out to right. Luckily, the Reds never hit the ball his way.
BOCHY BOTCH NO. 4: OK, I don’t think Bochy actually botched this one, but I thought I should address it. After Pence’s single put runners on first and second with no outs, Bochy did not have Brandon Belt sacrifice. I believe it was the right call. Belt does not have a sacrifice bunt in his two years with the Giants. He hasn’t even attempted one. He has zero sacrifices in three seasons as a pro. With Pence hobbled at first, a bunt attempt that is struck too hard could have easily have turned into a double play. Fans were screaming for a sacrifice after Belt struck out, but in this case it was a good call.
REDS GAFFES NO. 1, 2 and 3: After Xavier Nady followed Belt’s whiff with one of his own, Jonathan Broxton’s first pitch to Joaquin Arias ticked off catcher Ryan Hanigan’s glove for a passed ball and both runners moved up. It was at this point that I thought Baker would walk Arias with the open base. This would accomplish three things: 1) set up a force at any base; 2) force Bochy’s hand to use his final hitter on his bench — Hector Sanchez — to bat for Sergio Romo; 3) Get Romo out of the game. Instead, he pitched to Arias, who hit a chopper to Rolen, who charged but was unable to come up with it cleanly and Arias beat out the throw, scoring Posey from third.
Romo then came back out in the 10th and set the Reds down in order, completing a six-up-six-down night.
And the Giants survive.
Still trying to keep the faith as the Giants prepare to play the Reds in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.
But it’s hard given the cold, hard facts about being down 0-2 in the NLDS.
- 21 teams have fallen behind 0-2 in the NL Division Series since its inception in 1995. None have rallied to win the series.
- Only one has a team even managed to force a Game 5. That was last year when Arizona won Games 3 and 4 to force a Game 5. However, those two wins came at home for Arizona.
- Teams falling behind 0-2 in the NLDS are 5-16 in Game 3.
- Teams falling behind 0-2 with two losses at home are 2-6 in Game 3s on road.
- The Reds have not lost three consecutive games at home this season.
- The Giants haven’t swept a series in Cincinnati since 1999.
- The Giants swept three road series this season: Aug. 3-5 at Colorado; Aug. 20-22 at Los Angeles; Aug. 28-30 at Houston.
- The last time the Giants won an elimination game on the road was Game 5 of the 2002 NLDS in Atlanta.
But, hey, there’s always a time to make history.
Game 1: Reds 5, Giants 2
Game 2: Reds 9, Giants 0
Game 3: Giants (Vogelsong) vs. Reds (Bailey), 2:30 p.m. Tuesday (TBS)
Game 4: Giants vs. Reds, TBA Wednesday, if necessary
Game 5: Giants vs. Reds, TBA Thursday, if necessary
Game 2 of the National League championship series ended two hours ago, and I’m still trying to find something profound to say about the Giants’ loss.
I could write about how Madison Bumgarner was not sharp, as he hasn’t been for the last few weeks of the season, giving up a solo home run to Ryan Ludwick and a single-fest in a three-run fourth inning.
But that didn’t really matter.
I could write about how Hunter Pence’s decision to try to throw out Joey Votto at home — instead of throwing to third — allowed the runners to move up 90 feet to second and third. If he had held the runners to first and second, then Ryan Hanigan’s single to center likely would have been a inning-ending double play to Marco Scutaro and held the deficit to 2-0.
But that didn’t really matter.
I could write about how the Reds added five runs in the eighth off two relievers — Jose Mijares and Guillermo Mota — who should have never been in the game, and maybe not even on the postseason roster. Mijares was brought in after Tim Lincecum threw to solid innings to face lefties Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. Votto singled and Bruce doubled with a Ryan Ludwick walk sandwiched in-between.
But that didn’t really matter either.
The bottom line was that the Reds were good enough Sunday to score one run. And that’s all they needed against a Giants lineup that seemed to be pressing from the start, and it only got worse as the game wore on.
And you can’t win a game if you don’t score a run.
The end result was the worst shutout loss in the postseason in franchise history, their first shutout postseason loss since being one hit by the Mets’ Bobby Jones in Game 4 of the 2000 NLDS, and their most lopsided postseason loss since losing Game 5 of the 1951 World Series 13-1 to the Yankees.
Here are the hitting highlights of the weekend.
- Buster Posey 2 for 7, HR, 2 BB
- Gregor Blanco 2 for 5, 2B, BB
- Pablo Sandoval 2 for 9, 2B
- Brandon Belt 1 for 5, 2 BB
How are those for “highlights.” The lowlights included: Other than that, it wasn’t pretty: Angel Pagan 1 for 9, Marco Scutaro 0 for 8, Hunter Pence 0 for 8, Brandon Crawford 0 for 4.
When you look at this lineup, it hardly resembles the line-up of the 2010 champions. Only Sandoval and Posey were on that team, and Sandoval was mostly on the bench in 2010.
We’ve seen what happens when this team presses.
The Giants managed just two hits in the first five innings Saturday before Posey belted one out.
After hitting some balls hard for outs in the first inning, the Giants couldn’t hit the ball out of the infield off Bronson Arroyo Sunday until Belt’s two-out single in the fifth. That broke up a perfect game. And the Giants didn’t manage much after that.
- Tim Lincecum was outstanding in his two innings of relief, allowing only a Brandon Phillips double while striking out two. Lincecum pitched out of the stretch the entire time, and appeared to pitch angry … possible frustrated at being skipped over for a starting assignment in this season. It’s that attitude — that focus — he’s seemed to be missing at times this season. It could have also been that pitching out of the pen, he wasn’t pacing himself. That allowed him to get more on his pitches.
- Santiago Casilla got the only batter he faced out in the eighth, but was quickly relieved by manager Bruce Bochy. The Giants announcers suspected the skipper saw a drop in velocity from Casilla, and got him out of the game. Mota came in, and the Reds tallied more runs.
- George Kontos again had a solid outing, inducing an inning-ending double play that kept the Reds from adding on more runs on Bumgarner in the fifth.
I’m stunned. Absolutely stunned.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced Sunday who will start Game 3 in Cincinnati: Ryan Vogelsong.
After Vogelsong pitched last week in Los Angeles — his third consecutive solid start after a very rough patch in August and early September — I felt Vogelsong was the best option for Game 3.
He has allowed one earned run in 17 innings over his last three starts. He’s back to the Vogelsong of old.
Tim Lincecum has just been to inconsistent this season, especially of late.
In his final two starts of the regular seasons, Lincecum got tagged for 11 earned runs in 10 innings.
And Barry Zito is, well, Barry Zito.
I felt best about Vogelsong in Game 3, regardless of the situation. I’m sure most Giants fans feel the same way.
I just wasn’t sure if Bruce Bochy would feel the same.
Bochy’s M.O. over the years have been to go with players who have success in the past — not necessarily in the present.
We saw it all last year when he sided with a struggling Aubrey Huff, instead of Brandon Belt. And there have been numerous others examples.
With Bochy, sometimes it seems more about loyalty than results.
I thought Bochy would go with Lincecum in Game 3, and Zito in Game 4, with Vogelsong coming out of the pen.
There is some logic to that strategy as Vogelsong is probably the best suited of the three to work out of the pen.
Bochy did not announce who would pitch Game 4, “but we have a pretty good idea of what we want to do,” he said.
Translation: Barry Zito pitches Game 4. But Bochy is leaving that option open, depending on what happens in Games 2 and 3.
The Giants have won the last 11 games in which Barry Zito has started, dating back to Aug. 7 in St. Louis. Zito was 5-0 in his last five starts, allowing eight earned runs in 30.2 innings (a 2.35 ERA). And the Reds have several key left-handed bats in their lineup.
Bochy said he talked to Lincecum and he’s ready to do anything he can to help the team, which Bochy said includes coming out of the pen.
Again, another sign that Zito is the Game 4 option.
But Lincecum out of the pen? I’m not so sure about that.
Lincecum posted a 7.64 ERA this season in the first inning of games. That doesn’t speak to a lot of confidence of him coming out of the pen. He’s struggled to find his rhythm early.
So is Lincecum only an option to pitch as an innings eater in the event the Giants fall behind big early in the game?
If so, it seems like a waste of a roster spot. But he is a two-time Cy Young winner. Although those trophies don’t get you any outs this October.
So it’s Ryan Vogelsong in Game 3, Barry Zito probably in Game 4, Matt Cain in Game 5. And Tim Lincecum in the pen.
I bet you Chris Lincecum, Timmy’s daddy, is going nuts right about now.
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.
- 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.
The Reds held a 4-3 series advantage against the Giants this season. Here’s how the games went:
Reds 9, Giants 2
April 24 at Great American Ball Park
WP: Latos (1-2); LP: Cain (1-1)
Matt Cain came into this game with a 1.88 ERA. Mat Latos entered with a 8.22 ERA. Yet, it was Latos getting the upper hand in what started as a pitchers’ dual and ended as a lopsided win. Cain had a quality start with 3 ER in 6.1 IP, with all runs surrendered via the long ball. Brandon Phillips belted a two-run shot in the first inning, and Ryan Ludwick added a solo shot in the seventh. Dan Otero relieved Cain in the seventh, and allowed the Reds to add five more runs in that inning and one more in the eighth. Meanwhile, Latos shut out the Giants on four hits and two walks in seven innings, fanning three. Buster Posey avoided the shutout with a two-run home run in the ninth.
Reds 4, Giants 2
April 25 at Great American Ball Park
WP: Arredondo (2-0); LP: Hensley (1-2)
For the second straight day, the bullpen stung Giants. The Giants pounded out nine hits off Bronson Arroyo in five innings, but only took a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning after Angel Pagan homered in the third and the Giants added another run in the fourth on a Brandon Crawford single and error on Drew Stubbs. Barry Zito threw six shutout innings, giving up four hits and two walks, before giving up a leadoff homer to Scott Rolen in the seventh. Clay Hensley was called in from the bullpen and coughed up three more runs in the inning. Ryan Ludwick singled, Ryan Hanigan reached on an error by Hensley. After a pop out, a walk to Stubbs loaded the bases and a sac fly by Wilson Valdez tied the game. A wild pitch scored Hanigan with the go-ahead run and a double by Joey Votto made it 4-2.
Giants 6, Reds 5
April 26 at Great American Ball Park
WP: Lopez (2-0); LP: Marshall (0-2)
Angel Pagan was the big hero as the Giants avoided the sweep. The Giants were tied 2-2 through five innings as starter Ryan Vogelsong appeared headed to another quality start. But in the sixth, he gave up a two-run home run to Jay Bruce as the Giants trailed 4-2. After the Giants closed the gap to 4-3 in the top of the seventh, Scott Rolen’s homer in the bottom of the seventh made it 5-3 Reds. It stayed that way into the ninth when the Reds’ then-closer Sean Marshall came in. Joaquin Arias walked and Ryan Theriot singled. After a Brett Pill strikeout, Angel Pagan belted a three-run homer to left-center to put the Giants up 6-5. Santiago Casilla came in the bottom of the ninth and struck out Zach Cozart, Drew Stubbs and Joey Votto for the win.
Giants 5, Reds 0
June 28 at AT&T Park
WP: Bumgarner (10-4); LP: Cueto (9-4)
Madison Bumgarner was the star of this one, throwing a complete-game, one-hit shutout. It was the fourth consecutive shutout win by Giants pitching, coming on the heels a three shutouts of the Dodgers. The Giants got to Johnny Cueto early with a two-out rally in the first inning. With two out, Melky Cabrera walked and Buster Posey singled. Pagan singled to right to score Cabrera, and when Jay Bruce’s throw was off the mark, Posey scored for a 2-0 lead. Pablo Sandoval added an RBI double off Cueto in the sixth, and Gregor Blanco’s triple and Theriot’s single in the seventh off Sam LeCure made it 5-0.
Reds 5, Giants 1
June 29 at AT&T Park
WP: Leake (3-5); LP: Cain (9-3)
The Giants’ quest to pitch five shutout victories ended very quickly. Zach Cozart hit a home run off Matt Cain on the game’s first pitch. The Reds added two more runs in the first on Bruce’s two-run double. Cain settled in from there, but it didn’t matter much as the Giants could not muster much of anything off Leake, who would pitch a complete game. Sandoval’s home run in the ninth prevented the shutout.
Reds 2, Giants 1
June 30 at AT&T Park
WP: Latos (7-2); LP: Zito (6-6)
For a second straight day, a Reds pitcher threw a complete game as the Giants offense could get a run until the ninth inning. They wasted a nice outing from Zito, who held the Reds to one run on five hits over six innings. He did walk six batters, however. A bases-loaded walk — the third in a row by Zito — plated the Reds’ first run. They would plate another on a Miguel Cairo single off George Kontos in the seventh. The only offense the Giants had for eight innings was a Brandon Crawford double in the third inning. Brandon Belt’s one-out pinch-hit triple in the ninth was the Giants’ second hit. Belt scored on Gregor Blanco’s groundout.
Giants 4, Reds 3
July 1 at AT&T Park
WP: Casilla (2-3); LP: Arredondo (4-2)
For the second time this season, the Giants avoided dropping a third game in a row to the Reds with some ninth inning magic. The Giants took a 1-0 lead in the third on three consecutive two-out singles by Ryan Theriot, Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey. The Reds took a 2-1 lead on Todd Frazier’s two-run home run in the fifth. One batter earlier, Ryan Ludwick got the Reds’ first hit of the game with a single to right. The Giants tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on a Theriot double and Cabrera single. Posey’s second RBI single of the game scored Theriot with the go-ahead run in the seventh. After Javier Lopez gave up a leadoff single to Jay Bruce in the ninth, Santiago Casilla came in for the save, but couldn’t hold the lead, giving up three consecutive singles to Ludwick, Frazier and Miguel Cairo. On the Cairo single, Ludwick was held up a third base with no one out, then Casilla pulled off a Houdini-like escape. He struck out Ryan Hanigan and Wilson Valdez before getting Zach Cozart to line out to third. The Giants made two quick outs in the ninth before Buster Posey ripped a ground-rule double to left. After a Pablo Sandoval walk, Angel Pagan lifted a deep fly ball to right that Bruce appeared prepared to catch and then …. he just plain dropped it. It was ruled a double for Pagan, scoring Posey for the win.
With the Oakland Athletics locking up a playoff berth on Monday, it marked the sixth time since the Athletics moved to Oakland that both the Giants and A’s have advanced to the postseason.
Here’s a look at how both teams fared in previous years in which both clubs reached the playoffs.
- San Francisco Giants lost to Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-1 in NLCS
- Oakland A’s lost to Baltimore Orioles, 3-0 in ALCS
- San Francisco Giants beat Chicago Cubs, 4-1 in NLCS
- Oakland A’s beat Toronto Blue Jays, 4-1 in ALCS
- Oakland A’s beat San Francisco Giants, 4-0 in World Series
- San Francisco Giants lost to New York Mets, 3-1 in NLDS
- Oakland A’s lost to New York Yankees, 3-0 in ALDS
- San Francisco Giants beat Atlanta Braves, 3-2 in NLDS
- Oakland A’s lost to Minnesota Twins, 3-2 in ALDS
- San Francisco Giants beat St. Louis Cardinals, 4-1 in NLCS
- San Francisco Giants lost to Anaheim Angels, 4-3 in World Series
- San Francisco Giants lost to Florida Marlins, 3-1 in NLDS
- Oakland A’s lost to Boston Red Sox, 3-2 in NLDS