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Giants vs. Reds: 6 Biggest Matchups in Game 5 of NLDS

Ally WilliamsCorrespondent IDecember 10, 2016

Giants vs. Reds: 6 Biggest Matchups in Game 5 of NLDS

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    It’s come down to Game 5 in Cincinnati. The San Francisco Giants rallied back to even the series 2-2 and will send Matt Cain to face Mat Latos of the Reds.

    Latos has owned the Giants for most of his career, going 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in his two starts against San Francisco this season. When Johnny Cueto left Game 1 of this series, he came in and gave up four hits and a home run in four innings of work at AT&T Park.

    Matt Cain hasn’t been as successful against the Reds. He lost both of his starts this season, finishing with a 5.54 ERA in 13 innings. In Game 1, he gave up three runs and two homers in just five innings of work. 

    Few Giants have very good numbers against Latos, so it will come down to timely hitting and who can come through in Game 5.

    The Reds will be looking to do the same thing behind another dominant performance out of their ace. 

    Here are three key players from each team that will have a huge impact on Game 5 of this divisional series.

Angel Pagan

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    Angel Pagan started Game 4 with a home run and the San Francisco Giants’ offense kicked into gear. The leadoff man will need to have another strong game to spark the rest of the team. Pagan has had trouble against Mat Latos, batting .176 with three strikeouts.

    However, when Pagan gets hot, he seems to be able to hit anyone. If Game 4 was an indicator of things to come, Pagan could do well tomorrow. He singled in one of his two at-bats against Latos during Game 1 and may be able to do more tomorrow in Game 5.

Buster Posey

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    Buster Posey has a slash line of .267/.313/.667 against Mat Latos. It’s one of the best on the team and the San Francisco Giants need Posey to wake up his bat in the homer-friendly Great American Ballpark. 

    He went hitless in four at-bats during Game 4 and has three total hits in the series. That must change in order for the Giants to win. 

Brandon Belt

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    Brandon Belt started on the bench in Game 4, but should be out there manning first base as the Giants take the field tomorrow. He’s 3-for-11 against Mat Latos with a double and a triple.

    Belt has only one hit during this series, but batted .316/.365/.532 over the month of September.

Ryan Ludwick

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    Ryan Ludwick is going to be a huge factor in Game 5. With a slash line of .333/.414/.750 against Matt Cain and two home runs already in this series, Ludwick is one of the Cincinnati Reds’ biggest offensive threats.

    He has three home runs in his career off Cain, who will need to contain the offense at a hitter-friendly stadium. So far the San Francisco Giants’ pitching staff has had a difficult time stopping him.

Jay Bruce

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    Jay Bruce began the NLDS with a double and a home run off Matt Cain in Game 1. Like Ryan Ludwick, Bruce has great numbers against Cain, batting .533/.632/.933 with only one strikeout in 19 plate appearances.

    Game 5 should probably see even more production from Bruce unless Cain can figure him out.

Brandon Phillips

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    In 33 plate appearances against Matt Cain, Brandon Phillips has eight hits, including two doubles and three home runs. One of those home runs came in Game 1 of this series.

    Cain may have been amped to begin the NLDS, but if he comes out the same way, he will have a very difficult time with this dangerous Reds offense.

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