The Cincinnati Reds have outscored the San Francisco Giants 16-2 in the first two games of their MLB NLDS matchup. This Reds team is all too familiar with injuries to star players, and after starting pitching ace Johnny Cueto went down with back spasms in the first inning of game one, it seemed like standard procedure for someone else to step up.
The Cincinnati bullpen did just that to solidify a series lead–a resilient bunch that has stood the test of time is starting to get notoriety here in October. Journeyman SP Bronson Arroyo put the Reds two wins away from the NLCS after tossing a two hitter in seven innings last night. Can this Dusty Baker team bring a World Series trophy to Cincinnati for the first time since 1990?
Perhaps the more interesting question is if this Cincinnati team is more prepared than the upstart Washington Nationals. These two have been the most consistent NL teams all summer long. Fans around the MLB are betting the National League pennant will come down to these two teams.
I alluded earlier to the injury battles the Reds faced this year, as they were most notably without Joey Votto for two months this season. The Nationals are now without a linchpin of their team as SP Stephen Strasburg has been shut down for the 2012 postseason. The Nationals will have to rally behind starter Jordan Zimmerman this afternoon to possibly take a 2-0 series lead on the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
At the end of the day, the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals both have the balance and offensive firepower needed to win the National League pennant, but only one will have the opportunity to play in November.