Rain pushed last night’s ALCS Game Three to tonight, so while it was surely agonizing for Royals and Orioles fans to have to wait another night, casual fans win. It sets up a nice double header each of the next three days (unless of course the Royals sweep) and a full day of great postseason baseball viewing pleasure.
Since the pitching matchups haven’t changed for tonight’s ALCS, I’ll keep riding with yesterday’s column and pick and will instead turn my attention today to the pivotal Game Three in the National League. Game Two delivered in typical Giants and Cardinals October fashion with walk off homeruns and two-base game-tying wild pitches; complete insanity so normal for these two that it hardly merits incredulous mention.
Tonight two long-time veterans get the ball in a huge spot. One veteran making his first appearance later than the first round of the Playoffs in a sixteen year career, the other who has pitched in a postseason game in San Francisco so long ago he intentionally walked Barry Bonds four times…
So who has the edge tonight? Let’s dive into today’s free pick.
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Today’s Free Pick:
National League Championship Series – Game Three @ ATT&T Park, San Francisco
St. Louis Cardinals +116 at San Francisco Giants -126 (Total: 7)
John Lackey vs. Tim Hudson
This pick has to start with the injury to Yadier Molina. Latest reports say he wants to give it a go, but it is hard to see him being able to catch nine innings just 48 hours removed from an oblique injury. His absence would be an enormous one for the Cardinals, not just his bat in the lineup but the incredible advantage he gives his pitchers behind the plate. No one is better at managing an overall game; framing pitches, massaging umpire calls, calling the right pitch, calming and understanding his pitcher – if he’s not there tonight, the loss is enormous.
Meanwhile, I like the Giants middle of the lineup against Lackey. No one earth can get Pablo Sandoval out right now, and sandwiched in between Posey and Pence, I like Kung Fu Panda to do some damage tonight.
Hudson may be 39 and pitching in arguably the biggest game of his career, but I like his moxy and the way he has been throwing the ball. This series has hinged on single plays through two games, so don’t be surprised if it is tense again tonight. I’ll take Hudson to make one more pitch and the Giants to make one more big play tonight at home to take a 2-1 series lead.