Sweep? It’s a possibility as the Reds hold a 2-0 advantage over the San Francisco Giants heading into today’s Game 3 of the NLDS.
The Reds will start Homer Bailey, who was originally slated to be the Game 4 starter, but was bumped up a day with the recent injury to staff ace Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos hurling four innings in Game 1. (The Latos outing from Game 1, along with that of Sam LeCure‘s will live in Cincy baseball lore for a while.)
For Bailey, it will be his first home assignment since his no-no in Pittsburgh on September 28. And home has not been friendly to Bailey in his Reds career or this season. The home/away splits are, for lack of a better word, ugly. After his no-hitter, Reds fans and some members of the Cincinnati media openly stated that the Reds just had to pitch Bailey in one of the two games there were to be played in San Francisco due to those horrific home numbers.
Full disclosure here…
Home: 4-8, 5.16 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 21 HR, 17 starts, 99.1 IP, .299/.348/.526
Away: 9-2, 2.32 ERA, 1.003 WHIP, 5 HR, 16 starts, 108.2 IP, .213/.263/.296
Yep. Those are ugly splits. Glass half full side is that Bailey has performed far better in his last three home outings than those splits indicate.
In Bailey’s September, he was 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA and 0.716 WHIP. Opposing hitters managed only a .149 batting average against him. Of those 6 September starts, Bailey pitched no less than 6.2 innings in any outing and allowed more than 3 runs in only once (Sept. 23 v. Los Angeles, the outing prior to his no-hitter). As you would correctly conclude, that outing against the Dodgers was a home start.
Yet, Bailey has seemingly turned a corner. Even though his last outing was abbreviated (4 IP), the Cardinals could only muster 4 hits during his time in the game. And you would be correct to say that was a road game.
Are we making too much of the home/away deal? Maybe, but our ownAaron Lehr took a look at this immediately after Bailey’s no-no.
Bruce Bochy will send Ryan Vogelsong to the mound in a must-win game for the Giants. While Vogelsong carries a 1-0 record in his 6 games (2 starts) at Great American Ball Park, his ERA is 4.57 and his WHIP is 1.477. In his career against the Reds, Vogelsong is 2-3, owner of a 5.08 ERA and 1.617 WHIP.
Like Bailey, Vogelsong has differing splits in regards to pitching at AT&T Park and on the road. Unlike Bailey (and as you would logically assume), Vogelsong posts better numbers at home. There’s not the drastic differential involved.
For the 2012 season…
Home: 7-4, 2.86 ERA, 1.198 WHIP, 9 HR, 15 starts, 94.1 IP, .228/.303/.348
Away: 7-5, 3.87 ERA, 1.259 WHIP, 8 HR, 16 starts, 95.1 IP, .256/.315/.410
Not as stark a contrast especially if you go up and re-examine Bailey’s splits. In fact, pretty darn solid.
Vogelsong has not gone past 6 innings in any outing since August 8 when he faced the St. Louis Cardinals. He was awarded a win after going 7 innings and allowing a mere 3 hits. Nothing else. Since that outing (10 starts), Vogelsong is 4-4 with an ERA of 6.75 and WHIP of 1.586. Opponents have posted a slash of .314/.362/.524. In those 10 starts, only 3 quality starts.
Interesting note here. Two of those QS have come within Vogelsong’s last three outings.
Another interesting note is that four of those ten starts have come at AT&T Park with six on the road. One was at Coors Field and the another was at Chase Field. Those are a couple of impressive offense-producing stadiums. You’ll see a run or two at those parks. One might suggest that those two games are offset with his last two starts…at Los Angeles and San Diego.
GABP is a different animal.
This will be the second time Bailey and Vogelsong have squared off this season. The other was way back on April 26th when the Giants defeated the Reds 6-5. Bailey was actually in line for the win when Angel Pagan took a Sean Marshall curve and sent the ball into the sundeck (it was a day game) for a game-winning three-run home run.
I don’t anticipate Dusty Baker to make any lineup changes. Same for Bochy. With Bailey starting, I can’t see giving Xavier Nady the starting nod over Gregor Blanco since the Reds have no lefty starter.
Could the Good Guys pull off a sweep this evening? The Reds have been largely predicated on pitching this season. Tonight should be no different. The offense was posted 14 runs the first two games of the series and having both the arms and bats hot at the same time is truly a special sight.
The weather for tonight…
— James Patterson (@cincywxpro) October 9, 2012
Bottom line is if the Reds can get to the Giants bullpen early in the game as they did in Game 2, the sweep is set. Bailey throwing six solid innings will bode well. If it goes the other way and Bailey struggles, we’ll have to see who takes the ball for the Reds in Game 4.
That’s a situation the Reds would not care to address.