Skip to content

NLCS Preview: Cardinals vs. Giants

Oct 14, 2012, 11:39 AM EDT

pence getty Getty Images

You can’t predict baseball, but you can at least lay out the parameters. So let’s take a look at what the Cardinals and Giants have in store for us in the National League Championship Series.

The Teams

St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants

The Matchups

Game 1 Sunday in San Francisco: Lance Lynn vs. Madison Bumgarner
Game 2 Monday in San Francisco: Chris Carpenter vs. Ryan Vogelsong
Game 3 Wednesday in St. Louis: Kyle Lohse vs. Matt Cain
Game 4 Thursday in St. Louis: Adam Wainwright vs. Tim Lincecum or Barry Zito
Game 5 (if necessary) Friday in St. Louis
Game 6 (if necessary) Sunday in San Francisco
Game 7 (if necessary) Monday in San Francisco

Analysis: These two organizations typically feature talented starting rotations, and the names here are certainly well known. But neither side is operating at 100 percent at the moment. Lynn faded down the stretch during the regular season after being named to the National League All-Star roster and allowed Jayson Werth‘s walkoff home run as a reliever in Game 4 of the NLDS on Thursday. Bumgarner began showing signs of fatigue in late August and got shelled by the Reds in his lone NLDS outing. Carpenter pitched effectively against the Nationals last round but isn’t anywhere near full strength after making just three starts during the regular season due to thoracic outlet syndrome. Vogelsong had a 6.75 ERA after August 8.

Numbers can be thrown out the window this time of year, but fatigue is a very real concern in mid-October. And both sides would appear to be dealing with it after scratch-and-claw regular seasons.

The Storylines

  • The clubs played six times throughout the summer and split the meetings three games apiece.
  • Will the Giants regret not inviting Melky Cabrera back to their roster? The 28-year-old impending free agent outfielder would have been eligible to return from his PED suspension for Game 1 of the NLCS, but the club told him in late September to not even bother working out.
  • The return of Carlos Beltran to AT&T Park should get plenty of play on the FOX broadcasts. He finished the 2011 season with the Giants after a deadline trade that sent top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler over to the Mets. Beltran preformed well, but the Giants wound up missing the playoffs. And now he is killing it for the opposition. We would expect some boos out in San Fran.
  • This NLCS pits two of the best all-around catchers in baseball against each other. Buster Posey, MVP hopeful, registered a superb .336/.408/.549 batting line with 24 home runs and 103 RBI in 148 games during the regular season. Yadier Molina, also an MVP candidate in the National League, hit .315/.373/.501 with 22 homers and 76 RBI in 138 games. “Yadi” is generally regarded — and the stats do back this up — as the best defensive catcher in Major League Baseball.
  • The series also boasts two of the top defensive center fielders in MLB in Angel Pagan and Jon Jay.
  • The Cardinals scored the fifth-most runs in the big leagues this season and finished with the sixth-best OPS. The Giants ranked 12th overall in runs scored and had only the 14th-highest OPS.
  • Hunter Pence has become an emotional leader on this Giants team, but he batted just .219/.287/.384 in 248 plate appearances after being acquired from the Phillies on July 31 and went 4-for-20 with no extra-base hits in the NLDS. San Francisco would love for him to get hot.
  • The Giants’ bullpen is loaded with high quality arms, but the same can now be said for the Cardinals. Trevor Rosenthal and Joe Kelly have emerged into reliable young flame-throwers and Jason Motte is no stranger to postseason save opportunities. Shelby Miller will also likely get some use.

Prediction

The Cardinals are far more loaded offensively than the Giants, boasting five 20-plus homer bats. And while power can be a fickle thing in a seven-game postseason series, it’s hard to bet against the more potent offensive team when the pitching matchups don’t sway convincingly in one direction.

CARDINALS WIN THE SERIES 4-2

Latest Posts
  1. Red Sox demote Daniel Nava to the minors

    Apr 23, 2014, 1:35 PM EDT

    ALCS - Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox - Game One Getty Images

    Daniel Nava is headed to the minors one season after hitting .303.

  2. Nick Franklin is making his first career start in the outfield

    Apr 23, 2014, 1:05 PM EDT

    Nick Franklin AP

    Nick Franklin is trying to find a way into the Mariners’ lineup.

  3. Would-be Astros closer Jesse Crain still isn’t throwing

    Apr 23, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT

    jesse crain getty Getty Images

    Jesse Crain hasn’t thrown a pitch in a game since June 29 and it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon.

  4. Are Kirk Gibson or Kevin Towers in trouble?

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:36 AM EDT

    Towers Gibson AP AP

    It’s been an awful start for the Snakes. Awful enough to get someone fired?

  5. Brewers prospect Johnny Hellweg likely needs Tommy John surgery

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

    Johnny Hellweg Getty Images

    Brewers pitching prospect Johnny Hellweg, who was acquired from the Angels as part of the Zack Greinke swap in July of 2012, has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is expected to undergo Tommy John elbow surgery.

  6. Hisashi Iwakuma nearing return to the Mariners

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT

    Hisashi Iwakuma Reuters

    Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma was expected to begin a minor-league rehab assignment this week as he comes back from a spring training finger injury, but instead the team had him throw a 58-pitch simulated game yesterday.

  7. Wrigley Field — the most human park in baseball — turns 100-years-old

    Apr 23, 2014, 10:48 AM EDT

    Wrigley Field

    Fenway may be the site of more accomplishments, but it’s easier to see ourselves in Wrigley Field.

  8. Padres looking to trade catcher Nick Hundley

    Apr 23, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

    Nick Hundley AP

    San Diego is looking to trade one-time starting catcher Nick Hundley.

  9. Great Moments in Instant Replay: Yunel Escobar strikes out on a 4-2 count

    Apr 23, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 9.28.49 AM

    Not the best call by instant replay officials in the system’s brief history.

  10. Yasiel Puig’s experience inspires Florida lawmakers to pressure MLB on its Cuban player policy

    Apr 23, 2014, 9:08 AM EDT

    Yasiel Puig Getty Getty Images

    Right now, Cuban players have an incentive to avoid coming straight to the United States. That incentive should be eliminated.

  11. New York columnist clutches his pearls over Matt Harvey giving the finger in a picture

    Apr 23, 2014, 8:40 AM EDT

    Matt Harvey AP

    The columnist’s name is Anthony Rieber. And he apparently doesn’t get out much.

  12. And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

    Apr 23, 2014, 6:35 AM EDT

    Jose Fernandez Getty Images

    Pitching porn in Atlanta. Graphic, hard core pitching porn.

  13. Shane Victorino could be activated Wednesday

    Apr 22, 2014, 11:20 PM EDT

    shane victorino getty Getty Images

    CSNNewEngland.com’s Sean McAdam reports that outfielder Shane Victorino may be activated from the disabled list Wednesday if he makes it through his third minor league rehab game Tuesday night at Triple-A Pawtucket without experiencing any issues.

  14. Adam Wainwright leaves start with hyperextended knee

    Apr 22, 2014, 10:01 PM EDT

    adam wainwright getty Getty Images

    Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright landed awkwardly while trying to chase down a high-chopper off the bat of Chris Young in the seventh inning Tuesday at Citi Field and left the game with a hyperextended right knee.

  15. This is the fan who caught Albert Pujols’ 500th homer …

    Apr 22, 2014, 9:17 PM EDT

    pujols homer fan

    Angels fan Tim Sherrill, a resident of Ponoma, California and a member of the United States Air Force, caught Albert Pujols’ 500th career home run on Tuesday night in the nation’s capital …

  16. Albert Pujols becomes 26th member of 500 home run club

    Apr 22, 2014, 8:53 PM EDT

    pujols getty Getty Images

    Albert Pujols hit a three-run shot to left field off Nationals starter Taylor Jordan in the top of the first inning and then crushed a two-run bomb to deep left-center off Jordan in the top of the fifth for the 499th and 500th home runs of his 14-year major league career on Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.

  17. Manny Machado cleared to begin playing in rehab games

    Apr 22, 2014, 8:39 PM EDT

    manny machado getty Getty Images

    Manny Machado will soon be one phone call away from rejoining the Orioles’ active major league roster. According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, the young third baseman has been cleared to embark on a minor league rehab assignment this Friday with the High-A Frederick Keys.

  18. VIDEO: Albert Pujols slugs 499th career home run

    Apr 22, 2014, 7:51 PM EDT

    albert pujols getty Getty Images

    Watch as Albert Pujols hits his 499th career home run Tuesday off Nationals starter Taylor Jordan …

  19. Matt Moore undergoes Tommy John surgery

    Apr 22, 2014, 7:07 PM EDT

    matt moore getty Getty Images

    Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports that Rays left-hander Matt Moore underwent Tommy John reconstructive surgery, as scheduled, Tuesday on his pitching elbow. The procedure was conducted by Dr. James Andrews and deemed a success.

  20. Vidal Nuno named Yankees’ new fifth starter

    Apr 22, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT

    vidal nuno getty Getty Images

    Ivan Nova was diagnosed Sunday with a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and is expected to undergo season-ending Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. That leaves a big gap in the Yankees’ starting rotation — one that will be filled, at least initially, by left-hander Vidal Nuno.

Featured video

Harper vs. Trout? It's just the opening act
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. I. Davis (3918)
  2. M. Machado (2689)
  3. M. Minor (2684)
  4. D. Robertson (2674)
  5. K. Farnsworth (2585)
  1. M. Cuddyer (2504)
  2. G. Springer (2500)
  3. O. Taveras (2350)
  4. C. Kershaw (2335)
  5. J. Mejia (2324)