October 10, 2012

NLDS Game 3: Reds defeat themselves

Giants (1-2)0010000001230
Reds (2-1)1000000000141
W: Romo (1-0) L: Broxton (0-1)


Scott Rolen bobbled a ground ball and threw late to first, allowing the Giants’ go-ahead run to score.

The Cincinnati Reds had a chance last night to eliminate the San Francisco Giants from the playoffs and advance to the next round. But before the game, they received news that ace Johnny Cueto had a strained right oblique muscle. If the Reds didn’t win game 3, then a difficult decision about who would start game 4 would have to be made.

The solution? Win game 3.

And the Reds tried, but they were playing under way too much self-imposed pressure. They took an early lead, going up 1-0 in the first inning thanks to a single by Jay Bruce that knocked in Zack Cozart. That was the end of the scoring, and the batters looked to be pressing all night, especially as the innings advanced.

The pitching was awesome, though. Homer Bailey started and was amazing again, showing he was more than up to the task of taking the mound at Great American Ball Park. He lasted 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 1 hit and 1 walk, while striking out a career-high 10. The bullpen picked up where he left off, with Sean Marshall, a sharper Aroldis Chapman, and Jonathan Broxton pitching their asses off.

Unfortunately for the Reds and Broxton, the defense slumped a bit in the top of the 10th. Ryan Hanigan had a passed ball that allowed runners to advance. And with runners on 2nd and 3rd and two outs, Broxton coaxed a ground ball to third baseman Scott Rolen that seemed sure to end the inning. Instead, Rolen bobbled the ball and was late in his throw to first for an error.

The Reds went weakly in the bottom of the 10th, letting another great starting effort slip away. Sweeping a team during the regular season is always difficult, and it’s even harder during the playoffs. Still, the Reds need to relax a bit before tomorrow’s game.

The Reds have 2 more chances to advance. Game 4 is tomorrow at 4:07pm. Barry Zito will start for the Giants, while Mike Leake, Mat Latos, or the bullpen will be starting for the Reds.

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