Game 2 of the NLCS gets started on Monday night, and it might amount to be a must-win game for the San Francisco Giants, who are behind 1-0 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cards have done what they needed to do, taking the first game of the NLCS, and they know that one way or the other, they are going to be going back to Busch Stadium with a chance to close out this series. A win here though, and the likelihood is there that a return trip to the Bay Area is significantly lower. The bats for the Cards went cold at the end of Game 1, but they did get the six runs in the first four innings. That will need to change in all likelihood on Monday to take the second game of this series. Chris Carpenter is going to have a chance to win his second game here in the playoffs when he takes the ball on Monday. He threw 5.2 shutout innings against the Washington Nationals in a very easy 8-0 victory on the road in Game 3 of that series, and he is going to have a chance to get the job done once again here in San Fran. Remember though, that that win against the Nats was the first win of the entire campaign for Carpenter, and it was just his fourth start since coming back from arm surgery.
You hate to use the term “must win” for the Giants, but isn’t there a point that they have to win a game at home here in the second season. They’re 0-3 to start off series at this point, and they now know that they are going to have to go on the road win at least one in St. Louis to get this series back here to the Bay Area for Game 6 and potentially Game 7. Ryan Vogelsong is going to be asked to pitch quite a bit in this one, knowing how hard the bullpen was worked in Game 1 after Madison Bumgarner failed miserably. Vogelsong went 14-9 in the regular season, and he pitched well for the most part in the Giants win over the Cincinnati Reds six days ago. The righty didn’t get the win, but he did allow just one run on three hits and three walks in five frames. Another outing like that will be needed, but it will need to be stretched out over at least seven innings, one would figure.
The truth of the matter is that both bullpens are likely going to have to be involved in this game, and that’s probably bad news for the G-Men, who had to push through a lot more pitches than did the St. Louis relievers. Go with the Cardinals to take the second game in this series as well, knowing that Carpenter is just looking like he is starting to get back in his groove. St. Louis 4 – San Francisco 2