CINCINNATI REDS (98-65)
at SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (94-69)
National League Division Series - Cincinnati leads series 1-0
First pitch: Sunday, 9:35 p.m. EDT
Line: San Francisco -150, Cincinnati +140, Total: 7
Cincinnati looks to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the Best-of-5 NLDS on Sunday night in San Francisco.
Despite losing starting pitcher Johnny Cueto to a back injury in the first inning on Saturday, five Reds relief pitchers were able to limit the Giants in a 5-2 victory in Game 1. Brandon Phillips was the hitting star for Cincy, going 3-for-5 with a home run and 3 RBI. San Francisco was able to punch out seven hits and six walks, but scored just twice after leaving 11 runners on base. For Game 2, the Giants have the clear pitching advantage with Madison Bumgarner taking on Bronson Arroyo. Bumgarner threw a one-hit shutout the last time he faced the Reds on June 28, but Arroyo also pitched well against San Francisco this season, allowing just three earned runs in 11 innings (2.46 ERA). And although the Giants left-hander has led his team to a 19-13 record this year, Arroyo’s Reds have won just one fewer game, going 18-14 when the right-hander takes the mound. Considering how well the Reds have played on the road this season (48-34, .585) and versus lefty starters (32-18, .640), the money line is a little too lopsided here, not to play on them. Take the money and expect CINCINNATI to grab a 2-0 series lead.
This four-star FoxSheets trend also sides with the Reds:
Play On - All underdogs with a money line of +100 to +150 (CINCINNATI) - with an excellent bullpen whose ERA is 3.00 or better on the season, with a tired bullpen - after 3 straight games throwing 4+ innings. (36-12 since 1997.) (75%, +30.3 units. Rating = 4*).
Arroyo (12-10, 3.74 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) has not been a great postseason pitcher in his career, going 0-0 with a 6.04 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in 11 career games (three starts, eight relief appearances). However, he has appeared in the playoffs just once since 2006, when he allowed just one earned run in 5 1/3 innings at Philadelphia during a 7-4 defeat. Arroyo has pitched well against the Giants in his career (2.93 ERA in 11 starts), and has been pretty strong on the road this year too, going 8-7 with a 3.57 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, allowing a paltry 18 walks in 116 innings. He is 0-3 in past four starts, but has a respectable 4.32 ERA over this stretch. And before his losing skid, the Reds were 9-1 in Arroyo’s previous 10 starts. He has averaged 6.3 innings per start this year, partially because his bullpen has been so effective. For the season, Reds relievers are a combined 32-22 with a 2.64 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 56 saves (77% conversion rate).
Bumgarner (16-11, 3.37 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) has been excellent in the playoffs during his career, going 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in four appearances (three starts, one in relief) in 2010. He has also been lights-out in his pitcher-friendly home ballpark this year, going 10-3 (team is 11-4) with a 2.38 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 98 strikeouts in 106 innings. But even with his one-hitter earlier this year against the Reds, he has a 5.16 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in four career starts against them. Bumgarner has also faltered down the stretch in 2012, going 2-4 with a 5.89 ERA, 1.69 WHIP and .304 opponents’ BA in his past seven starts. Since he’s averaged just 5.2 innings per start over this seven-game stretch, Bumgarner will likely have to depend on his bullpen to get a victory on Sunday night. San Francisco relievers have a pedestrian 3.55 ERA and 1.34 WHIP overall, but have been much better at AT&T Park, going 11-8 with a 3.09 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 24 saves in 30 chances (80%).