Bronson Arroyo has spent seven seasons in a Cincinnati Reds uniform, and overall, he's been decidedly average. Good years in 2006 and 2010 -- when he made the National League All-Star team -- have been balanced out by years like 2011, when he led the N.L. in earned runs and home runs allowed. He's posted a 106 ERA+ in his seven Cincinnati years -- just a bit better than league average.
Even so, Arroyo's seven-inning, one-hit outing against the Giants in Game 2 of their Division Series shouldn't come as a surprise if you've been following the Reds all year. They gave up the fewest runs in the National League and had their five-man rotation make all but one of their 162 regular-season starts (the exception: the second game of a makeup doubleheader).
The Big Red Machine of the 1970s won two World Series on the strength of their offense. If this year's Reds are to continue their run through this postseason, it'll be via pitching like Arroyo's Sunday-night gem. Arroyo's game will be long remembered by Reds fans, as will these other outstanding Cincinnati postseason pitching performances:
October 7, 1940, World Series Game 6: With the Reds trailing the Tigers three games to two, Bucky Walters shut down Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg and the rest of a powerful Detroit offense on just five hits in a 4-0 win. The Reds won the Series the next day when Paul Derringer threw another complete-game win.
October 3, 1970, NLCS Game 1: Gary Nolan threw nine shutout innings, matching Dock Ellis, before the Reds broke through in the 10th for a 3-0 win, on their way to sweeping the series over the Pirates.
October 18, 1972, World Series Game 3: The Reds broke through to win after the Athletics had taken the first two games when Jack Billingham threw eight shutout innings, allowing just three hits. Cesar Geronimo singled in the only Reds run and Clay Carroll finished up for the save.
October 12, 1990, NLCS Game 6: Danny Jackson, who had struggled through an injury-plagued regular season, gave up just one hit in six innings -- an RBI double to Carmelo Martinez -- and two of the three Nasty Boys of the Reds bullpen, Norm Charlton and Randy Myers, finished up a 2-1 win that sent the Reds to the World Series.
October 20, 1990, World Series Game 4: The Reds completed their improbable sweep over the A's behind Jose Rijo, who allowed just two hits in 8⅓ innings before giving way to Myers, who got the last two outs in a 1-0 Cincinnati win.
And now, Arroyo. His outstanding performance has the Reds on the cusp of their first postseason series win since that 1995.