What to look for in NLDS Game 2: Reds vs. Giants

Pitching matchup could pose problems

SAN FRANCISCO - The Reds' bullpen proved itself in Game 1 of the 2012 NLDS against the Giants, and the offense finally came to life to back it up.

Game 2 of the 2012 NLDS against the Giants could look a little different thanks to a strained relief staff and a better starting pitching matchup for the Giants.

The Giants' Madison Bumgarner takes the mound, and he hasn't typically had success against the Reds, until this year.

The Reds were 1-hit by Bumgarner on June 28, in which he struck out eight Reds and only walked two.

But Bumgarner's numbers from 2009-2011 against the Redlegs aren't so hot. With a 5.36 ERA in four games, the Reds have had his number, which makes it hard to tell which Bumgarner will show up.

If the Reds' bats come alive as they did Saturday night, it might not matter.

Brandon Phillips showed leadership and got the job done to propel the team to scoring five runs for the first time since Sept. 22.

The big question mark going into this series was going to be if the Reds could put up more than three runs against good pitching.

They proved that and more, and things look good for the Reds offense Sunday night.

The question mark will be Bronson Arroyo, who takes the hill in Game 2, and how long he can stay in the game.

With the amount of relief pitching that had to be called upon in Game 1 after Cueto's 1st inning injury , the Reds will want to be wary of when they send the bullpen out in order to make sure they can handle a full 5-game series if it's necessary.

Arroyo pitched six strong innings in July against the Giants at AT&T Park, giving up two runs, and had similar numbers in a June start at GABP, giving up two runs but in only five innings pitched.

The caution in the wind is the amount of hits Arroyo has let the Giants pick up, collectively 16 in 11 innings. In playoff baseball, that will end up costing the Redlegs, and will have Dusty Baker calling on his reserve arms sooner than he'd like.

Arroyo has definitely hit his late-year stride, keeping his ERA down around 3 the past three months, and if he can keep that up through six or seven innings, the Reds have a good shot to go home with a 2-0 series lead.

First pitch is at 9:37 p.m. EDT. The game can be seen on TBS and we'll carry LIVE updates of the action as it unfolds.

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