A pre-game report from Cincinnati before Game 5

Just got out of the pre-game press conferences here at Great American Ball Park before today’s Game Five of the National League Championship Series.

Reds’ skipper Dusty baker said his team seemed in a business-as-usual frame of mind.

“I’ve got a good sense,” Baker said. “Just came from the lunchroom and it was business as usual. Everybody seems the same. We’ve got a very, very calm team. There’s not a sense of panic or a sense of urgency.”

But don’t you want a sense of urgency, this being the elimination game of the series?

“When the game starts,” said Baker. “But you can’t be in there all uptight. You want your games to be the same, and we are tied. I think that is what people forget. We’re not ahead and we’re not behind. Right now we are tied and we haven’t lost a thing.”

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said his team is happy to get where it wanted to be.

“The mood, tempo and spirit of the club is great because we fought hard to get to this point,” said Bochy during his time before the media. “We’re excited to be in a Game 5, which wasn’t looking too good at one point.”

No NL team has ever come back from an 0-2 deficit to win a five-game divisional series. No team in Major League Baseball has won three straight road games to win a divisional series.

In this series, Cincinnati won the first two games in San Fransisco. The Giants won the first two games in Cincinnati, forcing a fifth game.

“This is the playoffs,” Baker said. “These teams are not going to quit.”

“I think in the post-season you can throw a lot of things out,” said Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy during his time before the media. “It’s an intense game. It’s a little different ballgame.”

This being a Game 5, thinking is both managers will use as many pitchers necessary to win the game.

“We hope that (Mat) Latos takes us deep into the game,” Baker said. “Right now, it’s Latos’ game.”

Bochy said he would not use Tim Lincicum, who pitched four and a third-strong innings of one-run baseball in a relief role in San Francisco’s 8-3 win on Wednesday.

“I’m sure Timmy would tell tell me that he’s fine and could give me an inning, but I don’t see that happening,” Bochy said. “He’s carried a pretty good workload. Things could change in an extra inning game or something, but I have no plans to use him.”

San Francisco starter Matt Cain went 0-2 against the Reds in the regular season and gave up five hits and three runs in five innings of Game 1 of the series in San Francisco. Both Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce homered off Cain, who was 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA during the regular season.

Yet there were boos from the home crowd on Wednesday as the Reds lost, and tickets were available for this do-or-die game this morning.

Baker said he’s not worried about the fans or their feelings.

“You can’t think like the people think,” said the manager. “People think, ‘Oh no, we’ve just lost two in a row” versus you’re back to even. The average person, I think not fans but the average person tends to think that the glass is half full, all the time. Right now we’re back to one game. This is a very, very important game.

“But, hey, we’re in our ballpark. Where else would you rather have this game played? I mean, look at our record in day games (39-18), our record at home (50-31) and things point toward us winning the game today.”


– Scott Rolen and Ryan Hanigan are back in the lineup for the Reds after sitting out Wednesday.

– Brandon Belt is back in the San Francisco lineup at first base. Buster Posey will move back behind the plate. Posey played first on Wednesday and Hector Sanchez caught for the Giants.

– Baker was asked about Joey Votto, who is hitting. 357 in the series but still does not have a home run since returning from knee surgery.

“Anybody who has had a knee problem, especially during the season — Joey Votto works as hard as anybody out there — he’s healthy but he’s not as strong. He probably won’t be as strong until next season.”

– While with the San Diego Padres, Latos once signed autographs with the inscription “I Hate SF!”


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