Two for the Road

The Reds got off to an alarming start in their series against the Giants when they lost Johnny Cueto in the first inning. Now they're heading home with a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Bronson Arroyo retired the first fourteen batters faced and threw seven scoreless innings in Game Two. Meanwhile their bats woke up in a big way in a 9-0 blowout.

Before the divisional series there was some consternation that the Reds' higher seed meant opening up post season play by traveling to San Francisco for two games in a best-of-five series. After winning the first game they faced Madison Bumgarner who threw a one-hit shutout in his only appearance against Cincinnati this season. There was another gem pitched in Game Two, but it was not authored by Bumgarner. Bronson Arroyo allowed only one hit/one walk over seven innings in the 9-0 win and his team now takes a commanding 2-0 lead back home to Cincinnati.

There was nothing to dislike for Reds fans Sunday night as their slumbering bats came awake in a big way. Ryan Ludwick got things started in the second inning with his first postseason home run, a solo shot to center field. Even though that was all the Reds would need on the night, the offense was far from over. Joey Votto and Ludwick led off the fourth inning with singles before Scott Rolen delivered an RBI hit. Ryan Hanigan followed him with yet another single to drive in two more. Those two got another rally started in the eighth with a single and a walk before Jay Bruce blew the game open with a two-run double. Hanigan had another RBI-single and Drew Stubbs plated and scored the final runs with a triple before a Brandon Phillips double. Votto had three hits on the night while Ludwick went 2-3 with a walk. Hanigan and Phillips added two hits apiece.

After Arroyo left J.J. Hoover and Jose Arredondo each threw a scoreless inning to complete the combined two-hit shutout. On the night the Giants sent only five batters to the plate over the minimum. It was the first postseason win of Arroyo's thirteen year MLB career.

Meanwhile Johnny Cueto's status remains uncertain. Manager Dusty Baker confirmed that Homer Bailey has been moved up to start Game Three. Bailey last pitched on October 3 and will enter the game riding a streak of fourteen scoreless innings including a no-hitter on September 28. A sweep is always nice, but it would be extra helpful for the Reds in the wake of the Cueto injury. If he's sent to the DL for a replacement he would not be eligible for the NLDS. Mat Latos's emergency appearance in Game One leaves him making a second consecutive appearance with only four day's rest should he be needed in Game Four.

When Bailey takes the mound he'll be facing off against Ryan Vogelsong who has a 14-9/3.57 record. The Reds had some success in a couple of games against him this year, scoring six runs in thirteen innings without a decision. Bailey got no decision in a quality start against the Giants this 2012 allowing three runs (two earned) in six plus innings.

There was a lot of attention given to the lower run production the Reds had closing out the season when they averaged only 2.1 runs over their last ten regular season games. Sunday's nine-run output was their highest scoring game since the final day of August against Houston. They had previously put up nine against the Giants in a game at Great American Ball Park in April. Of course they've struggled with poor on-base performance from their leadoff hitters all season long. Thus far Phillips is 5-10 from the top of the lineup in the first two postseason games.

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