The Cincinnati Reds took Game One and Game Two in San Francisco. The Reds outscored the Giants 14-2 in AT&T Park. The Reds are only one win away from picking up their first playoff series victory since 1995. Cincinnati is close to taking that next step, but the team needs to make sure they keep the pressure on the Giants in Game Three. It would be easy to think that victory is assured with three games at home ahead, but nothing is certain in the postseason. Let's take a look at a few reasons why the Reds must try to finish this series off as quickly as possible.
-The Giants did win the World Series in 2010, and San Francisco is clearly a team that is confident in its ability to win games in the postseason. There might be a little bit of doubt in their minds right now, so it is the Reds job to make sure they don't give this team any extra life.
-The Reds would love to give guys like Johnny Cueto and Joey Votto some extra time off. Cueto says he feels better and could pitch in the Giants series again, but the team certainly doesn't want to have to use him again against San Francisco. Votto is still hitting the ball well, but he isn't 100 percent, and there is no doubt that he could use a few days of rest to be ready for a run through the month of October.
-The Giants have a dangerously good pitching staff, which can help them get on a hot streak quickly. Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner didn't pitch well in the first two games, but they have the potential to shut down just about any lineup. In addition, there is always the possibility that the Giants would throw in Tim Lincecum as the starter in a game later this series. Lincecum looked very sharp in two innings of work on Sunday night.
Those are just three quick reasons why the Reds need to take care of business and finish this series off right away. Homer Bailey will be on the mound in Game Three, and he has been brilliant of late. Bailey has thrown 13 straight scoreless innings coming into this contest. Cincinnati's bullpen is well-rested thanks to guys like Sam LeCure, Mat Latos, and Bronson Arroyo.
The most encouraging part of the Reds performance so far in the playoffs has been their hitting with runners in scoring position. The Reds have been making the most of their scoring opportunities, which is what the team will have to do throughout the playoffs if they hope to make a run to the World Series.
Fans in Cincinnati are understandably excited about the team's red hot start, but the Reds need to take care of business right away against the Giants. If they can do that, then it will be time to size up the next potential competitors!
Aaron Smith is a lifelong resident of Ohio. He has been a Reds fan for more than 20 years.