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Reds still hold the advantage in winner-take-all Game 5

Oct 10, 2012, 8:15 PM EDT

Mat Latos Getty Images

Momentum, if such a thing exists in baseball, favors the Giants. Thursday’s matchup, Matt Cain vs. Mat Latos, would likewise seem to favor the Giants. And yet the Reds are still the better bet to win Thursday’s series-ending Game 5.

– The Reds have home-field advantage. It didn’t count for much the last two days, but the Reds were tied for the NL’s best record at home (50-31) this season.

– Recent history suggests the Reds have Cain’s number. Including Saturday’s Game 1, in which the Giants ace allowed three runs in five innings, Cain is 0-3 with a 5.50 ERA and six homers surrendered in 18 innings against the Reds this year. Two of those three starts were in San Francisco, too. Overall, Cain was far better at home this year (2.03 ERA, seven homers allowed in 111 IP) than on the road (3.56 ERA, 14 homers allowed in 109 IP).

– Latos is pitching even better than Cain at the moment. He had a 2.41 ERA over the final two months of the regular season. Plus, he’s dominated the Giants. He was 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in two starts during the season. Pitching in relief of the injured Johnny Cueto, he allowed one run over four innings in relief in the Game 1 victory.

– Even though the Reds’ No. 1 starter (Cuet0) faced two batters in Game 1 and their hottest starter going into the series (Latos) hasn’t started at all, the Reds have outscored the Giants 18-12 in the NLDS. They’ve been the better team.

– Since Wednesday’s game wasn’t close, the key relievers on both teams will be rested for Game 5. That favors the Reds, given that Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall are a bit stronger than the Giants’ late-game committee.

– The Reds also have Bronson Arroyo lurking if something truly unexpected happens. It’s doubtful Dusty Baker will be looking to go to him, but he was awesome in Game 2 and he’s actually been quite successful on three days’ rest in his career, going 3-1 with a 3.19 ERA in eight starts.

Of course, just about anything can happen in an all-hands-on-deck game, and things will get very interesting if Latos happens to struggle early. I like the Reds in this one, but given that I preferred the Giants a week ago, what do I know?

  1. paperlions - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    I am loving that every series is going at least 4 games…sweeps are boring…game 5s and 7s are awesome.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM

      Ummm…yeah…about that. I would much rather the Cardinals go ahead an finish it today.
      I don’t see Geo having back-to-back bad outings.
      This in mind…I don’t want to give him a chance tomorrow.

  2. mrredlegz - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Wow, that first paragraph is absolutely brutal.

    • mrredlegz - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:58 PM

      ….or I could have mistaken the first period for a comma and proven myself to be, well, stupid.

  3. jashton11 - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    I liked everything after the first paragraph much better. That helped bring me down from the ledge — at least for now. Hopefully the Reds pull this thing out tomorrow.

  4. sailcat54 - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    It’s a one game series now, sports fans. The Gigantes have the upper hand: they’re talented, they’re hungry, and they’re focused. Let’s face it, guys. This series belongs to the Giants.

    • stoutfiles - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      You better be in the postgame thread of Game 5!

  5. skerney - Oct 10, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    The Reds are at home and dangerous, but they do not hold the advantage.

  6. beltlessbuckler - Oct 10, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    Mighty Mo is with the Giants, but Latos will be a man possessed tomorrow (like Pence on bath salts) and a rested Hanigan is huge. Go Reds!

  7. mrrooch - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    Advantage on paper means nothing at this point. Bruce Bochy is playing chess. Dusty is playing checkers.

    • stoutfiles - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:03 AM

      I better see you in the postgame thread of Game 5!

  8. metalhead65 - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    the giants hold the upper hand in that dusty baker is still the manager of the reds, his managing or lack there of in tonight’s game was a disgrace! first he leaves leake in to get pounded then you know he did not care about winning when he sent the god awful miguel cairo to pinch hit. seriously you send a guy who batted .187 during the season to pinch hit? then he leaves arrondondo in to be the giants batting tee,then finally brings in a guy he never uses unless he has no one else to put in even though he gets people out in hoover. first pitch is a double play. if they lose tom. it should be the last game he ever manages for the reds! there is no excuse for blowing a 2-0 lead in a series.

    • stoutfiles - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:03 AM

      I better be seeing you in the postgame thread of Game 5!

      • metalhead65 - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:56 AM

        if dusty costs the reds the the game like yesterday do not worry you will!

  9. stoutfiles - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:08 AM

    All I ask is that the Giants fans that have posted here, that feel so confident they will win, give props to the Reds if they win instead. I’ll be looking for you in the postgame thread of Game 5.

    Also, as much fun as it is to bash Baker, the Reds were worthless before he got there. He makes some seemingly awful decisions but they had one of the best records in baseball so it’s hard to complain.

    • spencerlew - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:13 PM

      Hey buddy where are you at now??? Giants fan are waiting for you

      • stoutfiles - Oct 12, 2012 at 8:03 AM

        I replied in a later thread saying congrats, but I’ll say it here as well. Great comeback, you came into Cincy and kicked our asses. Good luck in the rest of the playoffs.

  10. jm91rs - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    It seems like Dusty’s decisions cost the team a game here or there, but over the course of the season he has a way of getting the best out of the team. When you get to the post season, a bad decision costing the game is something that sends you home early. I don’t know too much about what he could have done differently yesterday (other than hitting cairo, I’d like to see heisey there or Xavier paul), but the pitching wasn’t that big of a deal to me. Once the decision was made to go with Leake we knew they’d need to score more than 4 or 5 to win the game. Once they were trailing it didn’t make sense to kill the bullpen so leaving Arredondo in didn’t bother me.

  11. jm91rs - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    I hope the Reds feel like they have an advantage today, but there seems to be a black cloud hanging over Cincinnati Sports and I don’t like their chances to get through today.

    I’ll be cheering for them though. Me and my house full of new furniture sure would like a world series win and a $5000 refund from Furniture Fair’s world series promotion they ran back in March!

  12. redlegs7 - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    If the Reds lose… Look for the “Fire Dusty” post and comments.

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