Sunday, August 9, 2009

Potent Preview: Cincinnati Reds (47-62) at San Francisco Giants (61-49)

Probable starting pitchers:
CIN: Aaron Harang (5-13) 4.52 ERA. SFO: Matt Cain (12-2) 2.25 ERA.

Things did not look so good after Friday night, and I was just praying that the Giants weren't going to get swept in this series against Dusty Baker and his boys (I have a feeling that Baker has his guys extra motivated simply because he hasn't dropped his grudge against former owner Peter Magowan, which caused him to leave to Chicago after 2002, even though we have Bill Nuekom running the team now). That being said, the Giants gained some much needed momentum on Saturday by beating the Reds' ace (Bronson Arroyo) with the Giants' third-best pitcher (Barry Zito).

Now, with Cain on the hill, and a Giants defense and bullpen (great outing by Howry by the way) that showed yesterday's performances was uncharacteristic of them (they had zero errors in comparison the Reds' three), the Giants look prime to take two out of three today. I won't say it's in the bag. With Wladimir Balentein and Brandon Phillips hitting as well as they are, the Reds certainly are capable of surprising the Giants in terms of taking the rubber game of this series.

I know a lot of people are concerned about Cain, especially after his less-than-stellar performance in Houston, but I believe Cain is due for a really good outing today against the Reds. Lincecum had his bad game on Friday (bad for his standards is actually very good for Ian Snell) and Cain had his last week, so I think both those guys got those bad outings out of their systems, something I would rather have against the Reds and Astros than the Dodgers and Mets.

A lot of questions about this game. Can Molina continue his hot-hitting ways? Has Velez played himself into the lineup on a more consistent basis? Who will Nate Schierholtz bounce out of the outfield? Will Rich Aurilia ever get released? Can the bullpen lay the hammer again or are they starting to get overworked, ala 1993?

Yet the most important question of the day? Can Cain nail the coffin in the Reds in game three of this series and get win number 13 after getting denied his last two chances? The Giants offense certainly needs to do their part, but I have a feeling they will with a guy like Harang on the hill who is a classic good year, bad year guy (for the record, this is a bad year).

For game updates check out the SJ Mercury's Andrew Baggarly's Giants blog at Extra Baggs. For live game thread and chat, check out the McCovey Chronicles.

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