Can No. 2 starters Oswalt, Cain replicate gems by Game 1 aces?
Funny, there weren't many complaints on Thursday about how heavily favored the Phillies are in this postseason. Having your ace no-hit what was the best offense in the league in the regular season tends to silence the doubters. It will be interesting to see how the Reds offense bounces back from Wednesday night's passage into infamy. In Game 6 of the 1956 World Series, the day after
Arroyo isn't about to match Labine's performance, but there's a solid chance that the Reds lineup could match the Dodgers'.
More importantly, Oswalt has been a different pitcher since joining the Phillies. He's getting more groundballs and fewer line drives, the former having spiked his double-play rate, and he's getting better support from the Phillies' excellent fielders. He has also been a lucky on balls in play, beyond the boost received from upgrading from the Astros' defense to the Phillies'. That last gives the Reds some hope that Oswalt's luck will run out this evening, but even if it does, they still have one of the league's best pitchers to contend with.
As for Arroyo, he's a solid, mid-rotation workhorse, which, truth be told, is really all
With Oswalt and the Phillies' offense clicking, it's hard to see how anyone can be optimistic about the Reds' chances in this game, or this series. The only thing the Reds have to cling to from Game 1 is that
The Braves don't have much more to build on in Friday's nightcap than the Reds do in the early game. They managed just a pair of doubles and a walk against
That scuffling lineup will now have to face
Indeed, as much as the Braves' patchwork offense has struggled of late, the Giants' hitters haven't been much hotter. San Francisco hasn't scored more than four runs in any of its last eight games, averaging just 3.13 runs per game over that stretch. On Thursday night, the only run the Giants pushed across was scored by a runner,
That makes this game a toss-up, one that could easily be decided by another blown call but also by more of the sloppy, or perhaps simply inadequate, defense the Braves displayed in Game 1. They made two errors and could have been charged with a third on