October 9, 2012
NLDS Game Three Preview: Giants at Reds
Faced with a virtual must-win on Sunday night, the Giants instead suffered the worst post-season shutout loss in franchise history. Now, the Reds can apply the brooms and move on to the National League Championship Series for the first time since 1995. Here are the PECOTA odds and projected starting lineups for Game Three:
Projected Starting Lineups:
If you factor out home-field advantage, PECOTA essentially views this afternoon’s contest as a coin flip. But since it will be played at Great American Ball Park, the model gives a slight edge to the Reds, forecasting Dusty Baker’s team to complete what would be a rather resounding sweep.
Tuesday’s pitching battle may be the most intriguing of any Division Series—mostly because, as recently as a week ago, neither Vogelsong nor Bailey was expected to get the nod. After days of back-and-forth debates about whether Tim Lincecum or Barry Zito was more reliable and deserving of the assignment, Bruce Bochy threw fans for a loop by selecting Vogelsong, who bounced back from a rough summer to hold opponents to exactly one run in each of his last three starts. Meanwhile, Bailey, initially in line for Game Four, was pushed up when Johnny Cueto went down with back spasms just one out into the opener, forcing Baker’s intended Game Three starter, Mat Latos, to eat four innings in relief.
Vogelsong’s 2012 was a tale of three seasons. He was a model of consistency from April through early August, working at least six innings every time out, and almost invariably giving the Giants a chance to win. But after lasting a season-low 2 2/3 innings in a rout at the hands of the Nationals on Aug. 13, Vogelsong went into a tailspin, failing to record even one out in the sixth in four of his next six starts. Then, suddenly, on Sept. 21, the pitcher who led the senior circuit in ERA through Aug. 8 returned, logging a 15-to-3 K:BB ratio and allowing only two earned runs in 15 innings of work against the Padres and Dodgers.