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Cardinals at Giants – Free Pick NLCS Game Seven

St. Louis Cardinals +125 at San Francisco Giants -132 (Total: 7)

Kyle Lohse vs. Matt Cain

It all comes down to this.  After the Giants won their record-setting fifth game when facing elimination in a single postseason, the series is all square at three games apiece and tonight’s winner will meet the Detroit Tigers (remember them?  It’s seems like the clinched about two weeks ago…) in the 2012 World Series.

We definitely have a pitching matchup worthy of the stakes tonight, with both teams having their rested ace for the winner-take-all contest.  Kyle Lohse gets the ball for the Cardinals (18-3, 2.79 ERA) and Matt Cain, the NL All Star starter, gets the ball for the Giants (17-7, 2.93 ERA).  Both have pitched decently in the postseason, but Lohse has been sharper.  Cain has allowed three earned runs in each of his three outings, and hasn’t made it into the seventh inning.  He’s given his team a chance to win in each game, but his ERA is right around 4.50.

Cain will need to pitch a much better ballgame tonight with the pressure on, and I think that he will.  The Cardinals were missing one of their big bats last night with Matt Holliday sitting out with back spasms.  If he is unable to go tonight that leaves a struggling lineup a big hole; even if he is able to play, it is unlikely he will be a full strength.  The Cardinals have done well with a patchwork lineup, getting big postseasons out of Kazma and Matt Carpenter, but in a Game Seven?  I’d rather have the Giants.  They are playing looser and the definitely have the momentum.

Here’s an interesting stat, especially for those who dismiss “momentum” and having any validity: of the last 12 times the home team has won Game Six and forced a Game Seven, they have gone on to win the subsequent Game Seven 11 of 12 times.  That’s a 93% clip.  History, momentum, health, and even statistics all like the Giants tonight.

Of course, there is the slightly troubling “statistic” or whatever you want to call it, the St. Louis Cardinals simply do THIS about as well as any team in history.  They have been down to their final strike four times in the last two postseasons… but we’re still writing about them.  They are still alive and kicking… so do we dare pick against the Cardinal mojo??   I’m 8-2-1 on my last 11 picks, and feeling, just like the Giants, there is some momentum at work here.

Without trepidation, give me the Giants one more time to finish off an improbable postseason comeback and head back to the World Series for the second time in three years.

Free Pick:  San Francisco Giants to WIN -132