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Cardinals will try to finish off the Giants in five

Oct 19, 2012, 12:43 AM EDT

San Francisco Giants v St Louis Cardinals - Game Four Getty Images

Is everyone all geared up to see the NL’s fifth best team and the AL’s seventh best team square off in the World Series?

Of course, the Cardinals and Tigers have genuinely looked like baseball’s best teams during October. And if some would prefer neither had reached the postseason because they weren’t all that good in the regular season, well, that’s just too bad.

One win away from reaching the World Series, the Cardinals will send Lance Lynn to the mound in Friday’s Game 5 in St. Louis. The 18-game winner will be opposed by 15-game winner Barry Zito.

The Cardinals should be favored in the game, but to win, they’ll need to overcome the Giants’ good luck charm. The team has won each of Zito’s last 12 starts, including Game 4 against the Reds in the NLDS when Zito lasted just 2 2/3 innings and gave up two runs. Zito himself hasn’t been all that much better than usual with a 4.04 ERA during the streak. He was 8-8 with a 4.27 ERA before it began.

Coincidentally, the Zito streak actually started in St. Louis, with the Giants winning 4-2 on Aug. 7. It was Zito’s only start versus St. Louis this year, and he allowed two runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. Lynn took the loss for the Cardinals that game.

Lynn also had a bit of a rough go of it in his Game 1 start in the NLCS, surrendering four runs in 3 2/3 innings. However, the Cardinals went on to win the game 6-4.

Even if the pitching matchup isn’t necessarily a big point in the Cardinals’ favor for Game 5, they’d seem to have the advantage on offense and in the pen. They used only Fernando Salas in relief in the Game 4 rout, meaning that Friday’s game will likely feature an ample helping of Trevor Rosenthal and Jason Motte if it stays close.

Also, the Cardinals are aiming to get Carlos Beltran back into a lineup that’s been the most productive of any in either league this month. Beltran left Wednesday’s game with a knee strain and didn’t play Thursday. Matt Carpenter has done a terrific job filling in, homering off the bench in Game 3 and then reaching three times and scoring twice in Game 4.

  1. 78mu - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    Zito’s a good luck charm because the team has won the last 12 games he’s started? Gee, ask the Braves what good that did them when Medlin started against the Cardinals. Medlin was a good luck charm and a great pitcher this season until the Braves infielders forgot how to play defense.

    • thomas655 - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      That was also my 1st thought, how the Cards did away with the Braves Medlin after they had not lost a game that he had started for I believe 22 in a row? No matter how good (or lucky) a pitcher is, the defense behind him has to be good and the opposition offense has to be not so good. The Cards offense is off and on lately, but I think they can handle Zito and the Giants this evening. GO CARDS!!!

  2. nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:49 AM

    Barring a huge comeback, It begins to look like chapter 4 of the Cards and Tigers.

    • dwrek5 - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      You mean the kind of comeback Detroit pulled off in the ’68 series? 😉

      • dcfan4life - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:29 PM

        68 series huh, ya nothing about baseball has changes since then…

      • dwrek5 - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:40 PM

        Giants won 3 in a row just last week. Anything about baseball changed since then?
        Thought it was a funny/interesting comparison considering the teams involved. I hope like hell it doesn’t happen.

    • thomas655 - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:05 PM

      Hopefully with the same results as 2006. GO CARDS!!!

  3. paperlions - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    I just love this team….a fun group of guys to watch play and root for….I think the fact that so many of them have known each other since they were in the minors together over the last few years really translates into their sense of team.

    I’m going to really enjoy the narratives about Matheny (assuming they make it to the WS, and especially if they win it). Does this make Matheny a super fantastic manager or does it just demonstrate that the best strategy for a manager is to stay out of the way and put your best players on the field and let them play (and that having good players is the key to winning)? The correct answer is probably both, but the former is only true because Matheny does the latter.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      No doubt Paper. When 19 of your 25 guys are home grown that certainly helps with the sense of team as well. I knew they drafted the vast majority of the guys on the roster but Damn.
      I had no idea 19 of 25 were all developed in house. Staggering really. It would be nice if someone with far better internet research skills checked to see how that stacks up with other teams. I would do it but it would take me about 2 hours. And admittedly…I am lazy today. But it’s primarily the length of time it would take me. Anyone care to help in regards to this?

      • paperlions - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:38 AM

        I am willing to bet that 19 of 25 is far more than average….if not the most home grown players. In the game last night, Holliday was the only guy on the field that didn’t come up through the system.

        Next year the numbers should go up with Miller joining the team and Lohse leaving…wouldn’t be a surprise to see Scrabble gone either….and soon Adams will be up with the team probably playing 1st with Craig moving to RF.

    • thomas655 - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      Jay, Kelly, Miller, Rosenthal, M. Carpenter, Descalso, Kozma, etc… What a great bunch of young hopefully superstars the Cards have in their future. Hate to possibly see Lohse leave next year, but they will have plenty of strong young arms to make up for his loss if he does go. By the way, what was that guy that used to play for the Cards, Albert who??????

  4. stex52 - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    I’ll be rooting for the Cards to finish it. They kind of backed into the playoffs, but it’s like we have been saying. You play the regular season to get a ticket to the dance. Then it starts over. Ask the Rangers, Nationals and Reds. You would have figured several weeks ago that the WS would include one or two of those three teams.

    As to Matheny, I’m going to try not to be inconsistent, because I think the manager’s two biggest jobs are to manage the bullpen and stay out of the way. But notice how many ex-catchers seem to make good managers? I always thought he would be good. Just like Bochy is, and just like Ausmus will be when he decides to take the dive.

    • paperlions - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      I agree stex. I think catchers make good managers because as players 1) they have to think through the entire game, calling pitches, setting up hitters, defensive alignments, pretty much everything, and 2) as catchers they are position players that are intimately involved with the pitching staff. This gives catchers a lot of practice and understanding that other positions players and pitchers don’t get as players.

      I think the players (especially this group of mostly young players) respond well to Matheny because of the relationships he establishes with them. It is clear there is mutual respect and trust.

    • thomas655 - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:17 PM

      stex52, I will also be a Texas fan rooting for the Cards to win it all.

  5. richwizl - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    I’m a Red Sox fan and feel happy for Detroit, but I think The Cardinals are taking it to the house. It will be a great series, very close.

  6. sportsdrenched - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Is everyone all geared up to see the NL’s fifth best team and the AL’s seventh best team square off in the World Series?

    Playoffs are what they are. Are you advocating we just end the season and whoever has the most wins…is crowned champion?

    • paperlions - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:40 AM

      Yeah, those types of comments (Mathew’s not yours) always kind of crack me up. People say they love that anything can happen in a baseball game/series….but then complain when that “anything” does happen.

    • albertmn - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      I agree. The playoffs (in any sport) are about crowning a champion, not about determining who was the best team (regular season or otherwise). You have to believe that is part of the reason college football has resisted playoffs for so long. The 6th seed in a conference, barely sliding in to the playoffs, has won the Super Bowl before. No one cries that they weren’t the best team with that happens. They are still the champs.

  7. materialman80 - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    it’s good to be a Cardinal fan these days! Let’s finish it and go tame them Tigers!

  8. jdillydawg - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    “Is everyone all geared up to see the NL’s fifth best team and the AL’s seventh best team square off in the World Series?”

    That’s awesome, and why I love baseball. It ain’t over ’til it’s over! Neither of these two (three?) teams are my favorites, but I’m looking forward to watching them compete. No one can say they don’t want it bad enough…

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