I’ll see if I can find time to post something, you know, substantial in the next few days. Naturally, I have a lot of things to say on how this NLCS has gone, but I’m extremely busy. In the meantime, here are Game Three’s lineups.
You should expect some inactivity on this blog over the next several days because, well, life. I’ll do my best to find time to post here, though.
Anyway, via Alex Pavlovic, here are today’s lineups (same as yesterday):
This is it. Do or die. Game Five.
That’s right. After back-to-back games of dreadful offense — over which the Giants compiled a grand total of five hits (two of which came only because the Giants were lucky enough to force yesterday’s game into extras), Bruce Bochy is sitting Brandon Belt in favor of Hector Sanchez. With the Giants’ season on the line, Bochy has opted to downgrade both the offense (Sanchez: .280/.295/.390, 86 wRC+; Belt: .275/.360/.421, 118 wRC+) and defense (Posey: #5; Sanchez: #111).
Not to mention that Lincecum, not Zito, should probably be starting this game. Obligatory reminder — Reds’ offense vs. right-handed pitching: 87 wRC+; Reds’ offense vs. left-handed pitching: 104 wRC+. Plus, their biggest left-handed threat — Joey Votto — hasn’t homered since June 24th.
Oh well. I fully expect Barry Zito to toss a shutout and Hector Sanchez to hit for the cycle because this is the postseason, after all — where chaos reigns supreme.
You might notice I didn’t bother writing about Sunday’s game. What do you expect? It was probably the most miserable game of 2012. Bronson Arroyo, one of the most hittable pitchers in baseball, nearly no-hit the Giants. Madison Bumgarner couldn’t make it through five innings. The Giants, already down 1-0 in the series, took a beating in their own park. Enough about that game. I’d rather just pretend that didn’t happen.
The Giants’ season is now hanging by a thread. In order to avoid elimination, they must a) beat a 97-win team b) three games in a row c) on the road with d) Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito starting two of those three games. Do they have it in ‘em? Probably not. But as baseball great Lenny Kravitz — er, Yogi Berra — once said, it ain’t over ’til it’s over.
1. CF Angel Pagan
2. 2B Marco Scutaro
3. 3B Pablo Sandoval
4. C Buster Posey
5. RF Hunter Pence
6. 1B Brandon Belt
7. LF Gregor Blanco
8. SS Brandon Crawford
9. SP Ryan Vogelsong
1. 2B Brandon Phillips
2. SS Zack Cozart
3. 1B Joey Votto
4. LF Ryan Ludwick
5. RF Jay Bruce
6. 3B Scott Rolen
7. C Ryan Hanigan
8. CF Drew Stubbs
9. SP Homer Bailey
Game two — sort of a “must-win.” The lineups are the same as yesterday:
In other news, the Game Three starter has been named Ryan Vogelsong. Tim Lincecum will be used out of the bullpen, with Barry Zito or Matt Cain (on short rest) starting Game Four. I must say, I’m not too keen on the idea of Zito starting over Lincecum. I’ve brought this up a few times, but the Reds’ offense has fared a lot worse against right-handed pitching than left-handed pitching, and the Giants should capitalize on this.
Well, we’re finally here. The Giants’ first postseason game is set to get underway in less than three hours, with Johnny Cueto and Matt Cain — both of whom merit Cy Young consideration — battling it out. Fun fact: since the start of 2011, Johnny Cueto has a 65 ERA-, tied with Clayton Kershaw for the second-best mark in baseball over that span. And Matt Cain, well, he’s Matt Cain. The pitching match-up, to state the obvious, should be a good one. Shocking for that to be the case in the first game of a postseason series, I know.
Here are today’s lineups:
It goes without saying, but these first two games — the only two that will be played in San Francisco during this series — are crucial.
Oh, and if you haven’t read it yet, you should check out Jeff Sullivan’s excellent Reds/Giants preview over at Fangraphs.