Place: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio
The San Francisco Giants are living dangerously, while the Cincinnati Reds are scrambling to set their rotation. The drama continues in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Wednesday with Cincinnati leading 2-1 after the Giants won 2-1 in 10 innings Tuesday.
The Giants won despite managing only three hits and striking out 16 times, and the first two batters in the Giants lineup – Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro – are 2-for-24 in the series. Cincinnati is still seeking its first home playoff win in 17 years after Scott Rolen’s fielding error allowed the winning run to score Tuesday.
Cincinnati will likely place Johnny Cueto (oblique strain) on the disabled list and activate Mike Leake, with Mat Latos – or possibly Leake – expected to start Game 4. Cueto would be ineligible to return in the NL Championship Series if he is replaced on the NLDS roster.
The Reds were 50-31 during the regular season at Great American Ball Park, where they didn’t lose three consecutive home games all year. They’re hoping to win Game 4 and enjoy a few days rest before the NLCS, especially after Cueto’s injury shook up their rotation.
First baseman Joey Votto is 3-for-9 in the series, but hasn’t homered since returning from knee surgery on Sept. 5. The Giants will send Barry Zito to the mound in Game 4, with Matt Cain set to start Game 5, if necessary. Two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum will be available out of the bullpen.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Mat Latos (14-4, 3.48 ERA) vs. Giants LH Barry Zito (15-8, 4.15)
Latos will be starting on three days rest for the first time in his career after throwing 57 pitches over four innings in relief of Cueto in Game 1.
Latos finished the regular season with a career high in innings pitched (209 1/3) and WHIP (1.16) and went 7-1 with a 2.46 ERA over his last 14 starts. Pablo Sandoval is 6-for-29 (.207) against Latos, who is 4-3 with a 2.19 ERA in 11 career starts against the Giants.
Zito is set to make his first playoff start since 2006 after he was left off the Giants’ postseason roster in 2010. The Giants won each of Zito’s last 11 starts of the season, and he went 7-0 with a 3.92 ERA during that stretch. Brandon Phillips is 8-for-19 (.421) against Zito, who is 0-2 with a 6.10 ERA in six career starts in Cincinnati and received an average of 5.96 runs of support in his 32 starts this season.
1. Since Division Series play began in 1995, the team that started 2-0 has advanced 38 of 42 times.
2. Giants RF Hunter Pence is 1-for-12 in the series and experienced leg cramps in the 10th inning Tuesday, but is expected to play Wednesday.
3. Cincinnati’s starting pitcher has taken a no-hit bid into the fifth inning in each of the past two games.