Tuesday LDS Tips
October 8, 2012
By Kevin Rogers
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A pair of divisional series shift venues as the action heads to Cincinnati and Oakland on Tuesday night. The underdogs won six of the first nine games in the postseason (including Wild Card play-in games), but the A's failed to cash as a 'dog against the Tigers. We'll begin in southern Ohio with the Reds looking to eliminate the 2010 World Series champions.
Giants at Reds - 5:35 PM EST
Cincinnati basically punched San Francisco in the mouth twice at AT&T Park, outscoring the Giants by a combined 14-2 in the first two victories of this series. The Reds followed up a 5-2 triumph in the series opener with a 9-0 rout of the NL West champions, as the Giants try to pick themselves off the mat heading back to the Great American Ballpark.
San Francisco has the inevitable task of winning three straight road games to advance to the NLCS for the second time in three years. Bruce Bochy's team pulled off just three road sweeps all season, while losing two of three meetings in Cincinnati back in late April. However, the Giants avoided the sweep with a 6-5 comeback victory in a contest started by Ryan Vogelsong and Homer Bailey, both who will take the mound in Game 3.
Bailey (13-10, 3.68 ERA) received plenty of accolades recently by tossing a no-hitter against the Pirates on September 28, while striking out 10 for his career-best 13th win on the season. The 26-year old's home-road splits are a concern for potential Cincinnati backers on Tuesday, as Bailey finished just 4-8 in 17 starts at the Great American Ballpark, including losses in five of his final six starts. Bailey allowed three runs (two earned) in 6.1 innings of that one-run loss to the Giants in April, as San Francisco scored three runs in the ninth to strip the right-hander of a possible victory.
Vogelsong (14-9, 3.37 ERA) limped down the stretch following a 7-3 start, delivering quality starts in only three of his final nine outings. The Giants put together a 1-3 record in his last four road starts (all against NL West opponents), but San Francisco managed to beat Cincinnati in both of his outings. In Vogelsong's most recent start against the Reds at AT&T Park in early July, the righty scattered three hits and two earned runs in seven innings of a 4-3 victory. This will be Vogelsong's first career playoff start, as he joined the Giants several months following their championship in 2010.
Tigers at Athletics - 9:05 PM EST
Oakland hopes its magical season won't come to an end on its home field as the A's trail the Tigers, 2-0. The A's have been known for not going away, while erasing a 13-game deficit inside the AL West in late June en route to knocking off the Rangers for the division title. However, Oakland fell short in each of the first two games at Comerica Park, including a 5-4 defeat on Sunday as the Tigers scored a pair of runs in the final two innings to take the commanding series lead.
Mid-season acquisition Anibal Sanchez (9-13, 3.86 ERA) toes the rubber in the potential close-out game for the Tigers, going for just his fifth win in 13 starts with Detroit. Following two shaky outings at Toronto and Minnesota as a favorite, Sanchez has put together four straight quality starts on the highway, but the Marlins and Tigers are just 2-5 in his seven outings as a road underdog. Sanchez was knocked around by Oakland last month at home, allowing six runs in 5.2 innings as the A's pounded by the Tigers, 12-4.
Brett Anderson counters for the Athletics (4-2, 2.57 ERA), making his first start since straining his oblique in a 6-2 loss at Detroit on September 19. The Oakland southpaw dropped a pair of decisions to the Tigers and Angels following a tremendous run of allowing just two earned runs in 26 innings of action. In two of those starts at home, Anderson shut down the Red Sox and Twins as a favorite of at least -160, while the A's own a 6-1 record dating back to last May in the 'chalk' role.
Oakland won eight of its final nine home games of the regular season, including the crucial three-game sweep of Texas to claim the AL West crown. The A's and Tigers split four contests at O.Co Coliseum in mid-May, but Oakland was listed as an underdog each time.
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