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.