Reds Choke! On Verge of Historic Defeat....Or Unprecedented Win
Reds vs. Giants Game 5
by Robb Hoff
October 10, 2012
Down to one last gasp, beaten and thoroughly dominated, somehow the San Francisco Giants still had a pulse in their divisional playoff series against the Cincinnati Reds after dropping the first two games of the series in San Francisco.
When a team is one-hit over seven innings and made to look absolutely helpless at the plate the way Reds Game 3 starter Homer Bailed rendered Giants hitters in Cincinnati, it would be near miraculous for that team to win, especially on a freakishly unlikely game-winning run scored on a chopper botched by an eight-time Gold Glove winning third baseman in Scott Rolen.
And yet it happened.
And so did the turn of events that led to Game 4 when the Reds sat down their injured ace Johnny Cueto and were forced to start their regular season Number 5 starter Mike Leake, who promptly demonstrated why he was left off of the postseason roster.
Now that the Reds have scored a grand total of four runs in back-to-back losses to force a Game 5 elimination game, that same dread that was there for the last month of the regular season as Reds hitters invented new ways not to score runs has returned with a vengeance on Reds Country.
If it came down to say how we lookin', most in Reds Country would agree that the Reds are lookin' a little green around the gills right now.
The Game 5 showdown is quasi-historic in the sense that no National League team has ever blown a series after winning the first two games of the five-game set since the divisional series system was implemented in 1995.
There have only been six five-game series in the N.L. since the divisional playoff format started. Of those six series, five had teams split the first two games.
Only last year's divisional series between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Arizona Diamondbacks saw a fifth game after one team --- the Brewers --- won the first two games. But the Brewers won their first two games at home before dropping two on the road.
A Reds Game 5 loss against the Giants would be the first time a N.L. team won the first two games only to blow the series -- and the Reds won their first two games on the road.
Which makes the prospect of a season-ending loss at home even worse for Reds fans.
However, the Reds will send a rested Matt Latos to the mound against a team that he has dominated. Latos will face Giants ace Matt Cain, who the Reds have dominated this season. If the Reds do win, it will likely be the only time that a team has won a series at home with a Game 5 win after winning the first two on the road because the playoff format will revert back to the 2-2-1 game home-away rotation next year for good.
So the outcome will be an unusual part of baseball history one way or the other.