Reds vs. Giants 2012 NLDS: Series preview

Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The high-energy Giants will face a formidable foe in Cincinnati.

The San Francisco Giants have been a force to be reckoned with, winning 14 of their last 20 games and 22 of their last 33 during the regular season. They clinched the N.L. West Division early, and now they face a high-octane foe: the Cincinnati Reds, NL Central champions.

The Giants will need more of that energy that propelled them to the top of their Division: They lost to the Reds in four of seven games this year.

Matt Cain, who has a superb 16-5 record and 2.79 ERA, and who threw a perfect game on June 13, has a 0-2 record and a 5.54 ERA against Cincinnati. Reds manager Dusty Baker decided to go with his own ace, 26-year-old Johnny Cueto, who won 19 games in 33 starts, with a 2.78 ERA. He also has a score to settle with the Giants, as he lost after allowing three runs off six hits during six innings on June 28, leading to his fourth loss.

Bronson Arroyo (12-10, 3.74 ERA) is poised to start Game 2 against Madison Bumgarner (16-11, 3.37 ERA), who has been tough on the Reds' offense, allowing just one hit against them this year. Game 2 promises to be key for the Giants, since they wouldn't want to trail the series coming to Great American Ballpark, where they have lost seven of their last eight games.

When the series moves to Cincinnati, Mat Latos will start, and that can be terrible for the Giants. Don't let his 4-3 career record against San Francisco fool you: He has a 2.19 ERA and a .201 opponents' batting average as well. Tim Lincecum, who is 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA and has not faced Cincinnati this year, will be Latos' antagonist.

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