The Cincinnati Reds had a rude welcome to the 2010 MLB playoffs.
The Phillies' Roy Halladay threw an absolute gem. The Reds couldn't even muster a hit off the leading candidate for NL Cy Young. He threw 104 pitches, with only 25 of those for balls.
That is incredible.
It didn't matter what team Halladay was facing, he has a buzz-saw. So the Reds have to keep that in mind when Game 2 begins on Friday night.
Sure the Reds haven't scored a run against the Phillies in 30 innings, all at Citizens Bank Park
Sure they have been shut out by the same team in three consecutive games for the first time since the Cubs did it in 1982.
But here is why the Reds can bounce back against the Phillies in Game 2.
Well they have gone 0-for their last-27 as a team. The law of averages say they will get at least one hit on Friday.
It was pretty obvious that many of the Reds were in awe as the first postseason game for the franchise in 15 years began. Compound that with a lights-out Halladay and well...you know the result.
But the fact remains that the Reds won the NL team triple crown this season (average, RBI, HR), and that's over the course of 162 games.
One no-hitter doesn't offset 162 games of offensive excellence. Expect the bats to awake from their slumber.
The favorite to win the MVP, Votto rarely goes two games without a hit.
He fought off multiple foul balls against Halladay before sharply grounding out on two separate occasions.
Votto has hit .333 with two home runs and seven RBI in 30 career ABs against the Phillies Game 2 starter Roy Oswalt. Which brings me to my next point...
Before 2010, Roy Oswalt dominated the Reds as a member of the Houston Astros. He had a 23-1 career record against the Red Legs.
But this version of the Reds is completely different.
In two starts this season, Oswalt is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA against Cincinnati. The Reds hit .347 off him.
He has lost his mental edge over the Reds.
In his career, Nix has hit the cover off the ball against Oswalt.
He has nine hits in 17 ABs for a .529 average.
Not sure why Nix has been so successful against Oswalt, but Reds manager Dusty Baker has noticed.
Baker has already announced that Nix will be in the Game 2 starting lineup.
Arroyo has been rock solid since he put on a Reds uniform in 2006. He was given the team 200 or more innings every single season. He posted back-to-back 15-win seasons before this year's 17-win performance.
In other words, Arroyo is the most reliable Red this side of Votto.
He has been in the postseason before, including with the legendary '04 Red Sox team.
Arroyo will not succumb to the intense pressure of a "must win" Game 2. He will calmly take the ball and do what he does: outsmart hitters.
The Reds need a big-time performance from their most trusted starter, expect him to give them one.
Edinson Volquez couldn't get out of the second inning on Wednesday. Good thing the bullpen had his back.
Travis Wood, Logan Ondrusek, and Bill Bray combined for 6.1 innings, one hit, zero runs, four strikeouts against the Phils.
This is without using the Reds top four relievers: Aroldis Chapman, Fransicso Cordero, Nick Masset and Arthur Rhodes.
It was the Reds worst nightmare. Rock bottom has already been reached.
There is nowhere to go but up.
Then again, collecting one hit would be going up.
Baker has been referred to as a player's manager. This is because of his laid-back managerial style.
He will not be making any ear-piercing speeches to his team. He will not be kicking over any Gatorade coolers.
He will remain calm, and the Reds will follow his lead.
He won't make any panicky moves and will keep the clubhouse even-keeled.
This isn't Baker's first postseason rodeo. Remember, this is the third team he has taken to the playoffs.
Halladay did something that only one other pitcher (Don Larsen) has ever done. It was a legendary outing.
Maybe the Phillies will not have the same concentration after a performance like that.
The offense really seemed to go into a deep slumber once the no-hitter seemed plausible. Can they regain their offensive output of the first two innings?
Mentally, already with a one-game advantage, the Phillies may not be there 100 percent.
They were expected to win about 81 games.
They were expected to have an awful season after a five-game losing streak in April.
They were expected to completely collapse after blowing a 9-1 lead to the Braves in May.
They were expected to return to mediocrity after getting swept by the lowly Mariners in June.
They were expected to fall apart after losing their final four games before the All-Star break in July.
They were expected to slither up and die after the brawl series sweep against the Cardinals in August.
Now they are expected to get swept in the playoffs after getting no-hit.
The resilient Reds have been up against adversity all season long; this is nothing new.