San Francisco Giants +125 at St. Louis Cardinals -131 (Total: 7)
Tim Lincecum vs. Adam Wainwright
It seems like last night’s game just ended, but after a six and half hour, rain-delay extended Game Three these two teams are back at it tonight with one of the more fascinating pitching matchups of the postseason. The Cards held on last night for a 3-1 win and now hold a historically-significant 2-1 series lead; the team that takes a 2-1 lead have won 17 of the last 21 NLCS’s. So, history tells us that the Cardinals are on their way to the World Series again, but I am not sure it’s quite time to write off the Giants.
Let’s take a look at the numbers and see if we can record a sixth straight winning MLB pick.
(For the record, yesterday’s Yankees v Tigers column still applies today, as the pitching matchups haven’t changed with the rainout)
The Giants are giving the ball to two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum who wasn’t even included in the starting rotation after a disastrous 10-15 season with a 5.18 ERA. However, in his new-found relief role in the NLDS he hurled nine innings against the Reds and allowed only one run, striking out nine and allowing only one walk. I know it is not a starting appearance, but I think Lincecum has found his confidence (as well as arm slot on his funky delivery) and will pitch a good game tonight. Obviously the leash will be pretty short, but I don’t think Bochy will have to go and get him until sixth or seventh.
Adam Wainwright’s last appearance was about as pressure packed as they come; a decisive Game Five on the road with the season on the line. Despite the Cardinals eventual thrilling victory, Wainwright was abysmal. He allowed all six Nationals runs and was chased from the game after just 2.1 innings. In four of his last eight starts he has allowed four or more runs and hasn’t been nearly as sharp and the Cardinals have been accustomed to over the years.
I think this series is destined to go to the distance, and I like the Giants to steal the equalizer in St. Louis tonight. Neither team has gotten much production from the heart of their order; the Giants 3-4-5 hitters are 6-33 and have struggled to the point where they are considering dropping Hunter Pence in the order. The Cardinals have gotten even less from their 3-4-5 hitters; going just 5-36 with no RBIs. Can they really continue to win postseason games banking on the offensive output of Pete Kozma?
I like the Giants tonight in yet another fantastic NLCS game. Add in the fact that you can still get them at a whopping +125 and I like them even more.
Free Pick: San Francisco Giants to WIN +125
** Previous Pick – Yankees/Tigers OVER 6.5