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Fan’s Preview: Can the San Francisco Giants Avoid Elimination in Cincinnati?

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After losing Games 1 and 2 at home, the San Francisco Giants are now on the road to face the Cincinnati Reds. In hopes of keeping their playoff dreams alive, they'll need to win three straight games in order to advance to the NLCS to face either the Washington Nationals or St. Louis Cardinals. This will be a very tough task for the Giants given the history teams who are down 0-2 have in postseason play.

Since Division Series play began in 1995, only four out of 42 teams have found a way to win three straight games in order to advance to the next series. Never has it been accomplished in the National League. Given how well Cincinnati's bats were in San Francisco at AT&T Park, the Reds could potentially see even more home runs at their home ball park if they can continue to take advantage of the Giants pitching.

While Game 3's pitching matchup will feature Ryan Vogelsong against Homer Bailey, the starting pitchers for this matchup weren't determined at the start of the series. Originally, the Reds were set to pitch Mat Latos in Game 3. However, after an early injury to Game 1 starter Johnny Cueto, Latos came in and pitched four innings, which in turn pushed Bailey up from his expected Game 4 spot.

As for the Giants, Matt Cain pitching Game 1 and Madison Bumgarner pitching Game 2 were the only set spots of the playoff rotation. With Vogelsong, Barry Zito, and Tim Lincecum remaining, the Giants opted to start Vogelsong in Game 3, Zito in Game 4 if needed, and Lincecum out of the bullpen, as demonstrated for two innings in Game 2.

Matchup:

The San Francisco Giants will host the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park located in Cincinnati, OH on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. PT. This will be the third game of a best-out-of-five game series.

Series record:

Reds lead series 2-0.

Starting pitcher matchup:

San Francisco: Ryan Vogelsong

2012 season: 14-9, 3.37 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 158 Ks

Career regular season numbers vs. Reds: 2-3, 5.08 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 43 Ks

Career regular season numbers at Great American Ball Park: 1-0, 5.82 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 9 Ks

Cincinnati: Homer Bailey

2012 season: 13-10, 3.68 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 168 Ks

Career regular season numbers vs. Giants: 1-0, 5.59 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 19 K

Career regular season numbers at AT&T Park: 18-19, 5.13 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 286 Ks

Where to watch and listen to the game:

The game can be nationally watched on TBS and SN and heard live on ESPN Radio.

Key contributors of Game 2:

Cincinnati:

Joey Votto - 3-for-4 with two runs scored

Ryan Ludwick - 2-for-3 with one home, run, one RBI, one walk and two runs scored

Ryan Hanigan - 2-for-4 with one run scored and three RBIs

Bronson Arroyo - 7.0 innings pitched, zero runs allowed, one hit, one walk, four strikeouts

San Francisco:

Tim Lincecum - 2.0 innings pitched, zero runs allowed, one hit, zero walks, two strikeouts

Sources:

Reds have NLDS sweep teed up in Cincinnati, MLB.com

Giants-Reds Preview, AP

More from this contributor:

Madison Bumgarner vs. Bronson Arroyo in NLDS Game 2: Fan's Preview

Matt Cain and Johnny Cueto Faceoff in NLDS Opener at AT&T Park: Fan's Preview

San Francisco Giants Announce 2012 NLDS Roster: Fan's Take

Ryan Vogelsong Starts Last Regular Season Game Against Clayton Kershaw: Fan's Preview

San Francisco Giants 2012 Postseason Roster Predictions: Fan's Take

Austin Chang is a lifelong San Francisco Bay Area native, baseball fan, and supporter of the San Francisco Giants. Follow this Featured Contributor on Twitter @_austinchang.

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