The San Francisco Giants walk into the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati today facing an 0-2 deficit in their best-of-five series with the Reds.
"[Leading] 2-0 doesn't mean anything unless you're up 3-0, which is what counts in this series."
Historially, the odds of winning the series are stacked against the Giants. Only four of 42 teams have ever overcome an 0-2 deficit to win a five-game series. That is a success rate of only 9.5 percent. Add to this the fact that the remainder of the series is on the road, and suddenly hope may become bleak.
While the chances of winning the series may be steep, the Giants can start by saving face with a win tonight behind the arm of Ryan Vogelsong.
Ryan comes into the game tonight with a 3.87 ERA this season. Even though his ERA has been a paltry 5.11 since the All-Star break, he still managed half of his 14 wins during that stretch.
Vogelsong has been noted by MLB writer Chris Haft for running "deep counts out of his abhorrence for throwing pitches that a hitter might find remotely enticing." This may prove to be a useful quality against a team that has racked up 14 total runs in two games.
Beyond pitching, the Giants will need run support.
Look for timely contributions from leadoff man Angel Pagan and near the bottom of the order from first baseman Brandon Belt. Both have had success against Reds pitcher Homer Bailey.
While only a small sample size, Pagan has a .429 batting average against Bailey, striking for three hits in seven at-bats. Belt has been successful to the tune of a .667 average, hitting twice in three tries.
If the Giants can get contributions from their big bats—Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval—in addition to timely hits from Pagan and Belt, they could give Vogelsong the help he needs to keep the series alive.
With Barry Zito on deck to pitch Game 4, if needed, expect the Giants to step up their production at the plate tonight.
If you follow @MLBJesus, you may be looking forward to a magical performance tonight.
The Sword of Vogelsong shall deliver thy Franciscans to Victory on Tuesday.
— MLB Jesus (@MLBJesus) October 8, 2012
San Francisco wins 2-1 in the 10th inning.
While Brandon Belt did nothing offensively to assist in the victory, Angel Pagan contributed the RBI that gave the Giants one run in the third inning. Without that, the game doesn't go to extra innings and San Francisco goes home for the offseason.
Ryan Vogelsong had a solid outing, pitching 5 innings and allowing only one run for a 1.80 ERA.
Buster Posey was big in the 10th, getting on base with a hit and scoring the winning run on a ground ball error by Reds third baseman Scott Rolen.