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NLDS Gameday: Reds at Phillies, Game 2

Cincinnati Reds (0-1) at Philadelphia Phillies (1-0)

Bronson Arroyo (17-10, 3.88 ERA)  vs. Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.76 ERA)
Atlanta Braves

Time: 6:07 p.m., Citizens Bank Park
Partly Cloudy, 74
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Prepare yourselves for a letdown, people, because it’s not particularly likely that Game 2 will not be the orgy of excitement, exultation, and drama that Game 1 was. A playoff no-hitter, particularly one against such a high-powered offense as the Reds’, only comes around once ever 600 games or so. Sorry.

Game 2 pits Roy Oswalt against Bronson Arroyo. While Oswalt, unlike Halladay, has playoff experience, he’ll be shaking off some significant postseason rust. Speedwagon hasn’t pitched a postseason game since Game 3 of the 2005 World Series, when he gave up five runs in six innings to the White Sox. Arroyo, for his part, has long been more famous for his hair (which, thank God, he’s abandoned since leaving the Red Sox) and his hobbies than his pitching, but he’s been a solid starter for the past seven seasons, including 10 postseason appearances (albeit with a 7.41 ERA) for the 2003-05 Red Sox. Arroyo won 17 games with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP this season. If I were Dusty Baker, I would have started Arroyo in Game 1 over Edinson Volquez. Actually, I would have started rookie Travis Wood, who pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief on Wednesday. But while the Phillies should be clear favorites this evening, Arroyo’s not a pushover.

Placido Polanco, sidelined by a sore back (not that the Phillies really needed his bat Wednesday) will start tonight, while Dusty Baker will also change his lineup, sidelining Johnny Gomes and Ramon Hernandez in favor of Laynce Nix–who has a walk and nine hits, six for extra bases, in 18 career plate appearances against Oswalt–and Ryan Hanigan, a fourth-year man out of Rollins College who posted a .405 OBP in 243 PA this season. Hanigan, at least as far as I can tell after some cursory research, is no relation to actress Alyson Hannigan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, American Pie, and How I Met Your Mother fame.

Today’s Lineup: Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Rollins SS, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Oswalt P

Victory Lager

Your gameday beer: Měšťanský Pivovar Havlíčkův Brod Rebel

Roy Oswalt hails from Mississippi, home of the Ole Miss Rebels, so tonight I give you Rebel beer. I’ve never had this Czech pilsner, but I’m running out of time so here it is. BeerAdvocate rates this beer a B-. It’s not exactly Chimay Grand Reserve, but it’s hardly Natty Ice.

by Michael


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