Before the National League Divisional Series began between the Reds and Giants, various experts were picking the Giants to be a trendy World Series contender.
After two games in the NLDS, it’s safe to say the Reds have proven a great deal of people wrong.
Inauspiciously for the Reds, Johnny Cueto only survived eight pitches in Game 1. The Cy Young candidate suffered from back spasms and forced the Reds to go to the bullpen.
Sam LeCure and Mat Latos helped to bridge the gap to the back end of the bullpen. Latos, who was pitching on three days rest for the first time in his career, dealt four innings of no run baseball.
Matt Cain was not able to keep the Reds offense at bay, giving up two home runs in five innings. While Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman struggled during their outings, the Reds were able to hold on to a 5-2 win.
Game 2 can be described as a dominant pitching performance from much maligned Bronson Arroyo.
Arroyo had a horrific 2011, suffering from mononucleosis and was never completely right for the year. On Sunday night, however, Arroyo was spot on by using his four different pitches effectively. Giants hitters only managed 1 hit over seven innings against the Reds starter.
Once again, the Reds were able to score early on Giants starter, Madison Bumgarner. Ryan Ludwick hit an early homer off Bumgarner and the Reds continued to pile on the Giants bullpen for a 9-0 victory.
The series through two games has been a microcosm of the season for the Cincinnati Reds.
The Reds have had a great combination of three factors this season: great pitching, superior defense, and timely hitting. The Reds in 2010, when they last made the playoffs, were an offensive force with a suspect pitching rotation.
This year, however, the Reds are a more experienced playoff bunch.
The bullpen has been rock solid with Broxton, Chapman and Sean Marshall after injuries to Ryan Madson and Nick Masset happened earlier in the season. The defense is anchored by Gold Glovers Scottie Rolen, Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto.
Nationally, the Reds have not received a great deal of attention from the normal media outlets such as ESPN or MLB Network. The Reds might be the best team you have never heard of.
The Reds have embraced being under the radar and are en route to a date in the NLCS. If they continue to follow the three factors mentioned above, the Reds might become the trendy World Series pick.