The Giants players each used one phrase repeatedly following Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Reds that put them in an 0-2 hole in the best-of-five series.
“We don’t really have a choice,” catcher and MVP candidate Buster Posey said. “Our backs are against the wall. We’ve got to go out, fight, scrap and claw until the end.”
Their backs have been pushed against that wall by a Reds team that has outplayed the Giants in every aspect of the game. For two days their pitchers baffled Giants hitters, their defense snared every ball within reach, and their offense struck early and often as they outscored the home team 14-2 over the weekend.
A shift to Cincinnati should provide a boost to the offense, though simply going on the road seems to have benefitted this lineup all year. The Giants scored 410 runs on the road in 2012, compared to 308 at home. More than once they suffered through a collective slump at home only to reignite when visiting hitter-friendly parks, a category Great American Ballpark certainly falls into.
The Giants will have the advantage of the Reds starting rotation being disrupted by the injury to Johnny Cueto during the first inning of Game 1 on Saturday. Reds manager Dusty Baker said before the series he had wanted to use Mat Latos in Cincinnati in order to utilize his ability to strike hitters out to neutralize the smaller park. Now they will face Homer Bailey, who has a 5.16 ERA and 4-8 record at home this year, including a no-decision against the Giants in April.
Throw in the fact that the Giants have faced their share of adversity this year, and there wasn’t much panic in the clubhouse.
“You’re going to have to fight adversity all throughout the season,” first baseman Brandon Belt said. “We talked about it before the postseason that it’s probably going to happen, we were probably going to have our backs against the wall. But the motto is just never give up, go out there and keep battling.”
Second baseman Marco Scutaro will be key to getting the offense up and running. He has been an offensive catalyst since coming over in a trade with the Colorado Rockies on July 28, and finished the season with a 20-game hit streak before going hitless in eight postseason at bats so far.
“That’s the way baseball is, man,” Scutaro said. “I’ve got eight at-bats and I have hit at least three or four hard balls, but hard luck, and that’s the way baseball is. When things are not going your way, that’s the way it is.
Mentally you’ve got to turn the page and come back the next day and stay positive.”