I wrote, before the playoffs started, the reasons why the Cincinnati Reds would be successful (here) and wouldn’t be successful (here) in the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants. You can read the full blog, but I boiled it down to they would win because of pitching and defense and lose because of hitting.
Well, in last night’s resounding defeat of the Giants in San Francisco, the Cincinnati Reds put together the most complete game they have played all season long. Let’s break down what the Reds did to take the win and move to a commanding 2-0 lead heading back to Cincinnati.
Hitting – The Cincinnati Reds found their bats at the right time. This is a team that had two of its biggest stars, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce, mired in their worst slumps of the season going into the playoffs. As a team, the Reds were, statistically, the worst hitting team in the NL during the month of September and first week of October. Well that is a distant memory now. After posting 5 runs in game one, the Reds broke open the whooping sticks and pounded out 13 hits that produced 9 runs last night. They played small ball and long ball and just flat dominated Giants’ pitching. As for the two in the slump, Phillips has gone 5-10 and driven in 4 runs. Not to be outdown, Bruce has gone 3-9 and driven in 3 himself. Bruce is a streaky hitter and can stay on a hot streak for 10 or more games at a time. That sounds like a postseason to me.
Pitching – What can you say about the work of Bronson Arroyo? That grizzly old bull-dog for the Cincinnati Reds pitched his finest game last night. He was, in a word, masterful. He allowed one hit, one walk and struck out four. JJ Hoover pitched the 8th and allowed 1 walk. Jose Arredondo, who scares me to no end, worked the 9th and allowed the 2nd hit and 3rd walk of the night before getting the final out on a grounder to Phillips, securing the shut out. (On a side, is it just me or does Arredondo fall apart after getting 2 outs?)
Fielding – The Cincinnati Reds played error free baseball again. More importantly, their scouting was superb. Player placement for the Reds was spot on all night. It wasn’t like the Giants didn’t hit the ball hard, they just hit the ball right to the Reds. There is more than one reason the Reds are the best defensive team in the league.
The Cincinnati Reds traveled back to Cincinnati after last night’s game. They will enjoy some rest and come back on Tuesday evening to go for the series sweep.