It was almost exactly one month ago that the team with the best record in Baseball came into Great American Ballpark and left losers of 2 of 3. Today, the task gets tougher.

It’s now the San Francisco Giants who own Baseball’s best record at 37-20 and they just got done taking it to the St. Louis Cardinals. If you have nightmares about the Giants, it’s understandable. If you’re tired of hearing about Buster Posey, it’s understandable. If you want to see the Reds exact a little revenge over the next four games—it’s understandable.

I am and I do.

So, read this and feel a bit better.

Your job, Mr. Phelps, should you decide to accept it, is to take the series and  keep heads above water until Joey and Mat return.

The years the Reds were winning their division championships, the Giants were going on to win world championships. In fact, in some ways, they are the model of how the Reds hope to win going forward: outstanding pitching carrying the day, with just enough hitting thrown into the mix.

Except now, they’re plating runs better, too. Despite being 9th in the NL in AVG (Reds, 11th) and 10th in OBP (Reds, 13th), the Giants are 4th in the NL in Runs (Reds, 14th),  and 5th in OPS (Reds, 12th). Below are their ranking for all of baseball:

giant rankings 2014

Player Pos AVG HR RBI OBP SLG OPS
A. Pagan CF .327 3 17 .366 .447 .813
H. Pence RF .284 7 21 .357 .453 .810
B. Posey C .264 7 26 .340 .402 .742
P. Sandoval 3B .251 8 25 .304 .430 .734
M. Morse 1B .295 11 38 .351 .574 .925
T. Colvin  LF .260 1 7 .315 .520 .835
B. Hicks 2B .178 8 20 .300 .368 .668
Crawford SS .236 6 26 .308 .423 .731

Giant’s on/off the DL

Posey has had a bad back and just returned for the Cardinal series. Brandon Belt is out with a broken left thumb. Marco Scutaro is out indefinitely with a back injury.

The Bench

Hector Sanchez, Tyler Colvin, Gregor Blanco, Brandon Hicks and Arias make up a solid bench. Advantage Giants.

The Projected Starters

The Giants have lost Matt Cain to a balky hamstring and fortunately, the Reds will miss Tim Hudson this time around. Madison Bumgarner is pitching particularly well this season. His strikeouts are up and his walks are down. Giants starters have the 5th best ERA in the NL at 3.28. The Reds starters are 2nd in the NL at 3.19. Advantage Reds.

giants pitchers 2014

Pitcher ERA WHIP
Tuesday 7:10pm
Tim Lincecum, RHP 4.18 1.54
Homer Bailey, RHP 5.04 1.51
Wednesday 7:10pm
Ryan Vogelsong, RHP 3.45 1.28
Tony Cingrani, LHP 4.01 1.46
Thursday 12:35pm
Madison Bumgarner, LHP 2.85 1.25
Mike Leake, RHP 2.92 1.06

The Bullpen

Sergio Romo still closes for the Giants. Romo has been shaky lately, but for now, his job is safe.

Jean Machi, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, Yusmeiro Petit and David Huff round out the pen.

Here’s how the bullpens stack up:

Team IP ERA FIP xFIP BABIP
Giants 176.0 2.51 3.32 3.42 2.56
Reds 135.1 4.32 4.14 4.07 .296

The San Francisco Giants have not lost a series in over a month.  Should you fail to win the series, Mr. Phelps, the local media will disavow any knowledge of your existence in the NL race. This post will self-destruct in 5 seconds.

Good luck, Jim.