The Cove
Deep coverage of the Giants

Giants vs. Reds: Series Preview

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Game 1: 4:10 p.m. PT -- Matt Cain (1-0, 1.88 ERA) vs. Mat Latos (0-2, 8.22)
    Latos? Is this guy ... OK sorry I'll stop with the jokes. Yes, it's the Latos from San Diego who the Giants don't like and yes, he IS having some trouble keeping zeroes off the board this year. And awkwardly, during Latos' latest start, a bunch of Reds fans got on Twitter and started harassing his wife about how poorly her husband was pitching. Freaking jerks.

    Anyway, this is his chance to get back on track with his new team, since he has quite the fantastic history against the Giants, going 2-3 in nine starts with one complete game, 45 strikeouts over 58 innings, a 2.64 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. Of course, he's not starting against your barely older brother's Giants -- this is the team that's averaging like 50 runs a game behind Nate Schierholtz' ridiculous hot bat and the streaking Pablo Sandoval.

    Sandoval, as we noted, is a .250 lifetime hitter against Latos and will get his shot at breaking Willie Mays record on Tuesday night. Add in the fact that they've got Matt Cain on the mound and we'll give the Giants the edge here; it's a game they should win.

    Game 2: 4:10 p.m. PT -- Barry Zito (1-0, 1.71) vs. Bronson Arroyo (1-0, 2.91)
    It's pretty difficult to find a matchup of two more surprisingly efficient soft-tossers in baseball right now. Both Zito and Arroyo were supposed to get their brains beat in all season long by opposing offenses, with Zito playing out the string of his contract and Arroyo eventually giving the Reds a reason to replace him with Aroldis Chapman (but also playing out the money string).

    Instead, they're both pitching well. And perhaps a little too well. These guys are capable of giving up some homers and Great American Ballpark isn't shy about keeping balls inside its walls, so this could potentially be a shootout if reality sets in for either one of them.

    Brandon Phillips is a career (19 plate appearances) .467 hitter against Zito, though he doesn't have a homer against Barry. Jay Bruce is four of nine with a homer, three RBI and a 1.444 OPS against Zito. Be warned.

    Ryan Theriot, Aubrey Huff, Angel Pagan and Emmanuel Burriss have all homered off of Arroyo in his career, so it's all good. Huff, who's dealing with a family emergency, has been particularly effective against Arroyo, going 12 of 23 in his career with a 1.462 OPS. Getting him back would be good. Slight edge to the Giants again.

    Game 3: 9:35 a.m. PT -- Ryan Vogelsong (0-1, 3.38) vs. Homer Bailey (1-2, 3.86)
    I remember when Homer Bailey was a can't miss prospect. Oh, projections. You're so fun. He's got a pair of losses this season, but that ERA isn't horrific, thanks in large part to a nice start against the Cubs last Friday. His first two games, he gave up seven earned runs in 11.2 innings while walking seven. If he's not on and the Giants are patient, they could pound him.

    Vogey's been pretty good this year and has just taken a couple of hard-luck losses. Both his starts are of the quality variety and though he's walked five guys in 13.1 innings, he's also struck out 15 guys in that timespan. We'll take it!

    It's always interesting when Vogelsong faces an NL Central opponent, since they should have theoretically faced him. But only Scott Rolen and Brandon Phillips have more than 10 plate appearances against him. They've hit him pretty hard though, so be wary of that.

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    We'll give the advantage to the Giants in all three games here, actually. If the team can continue to hit they way they did in New York, the pitching should hold up enough to get the Giants a sweep. It's not ever really safe to predict a sweep so we won't.

    But the Giants should pick up two wins here if they continue playing like they have the last week or so.