The 2012 World Series might be set on Friday night if the St. Louis Cardinals can beat the MLB betting lines against the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the NLCS.
San Francisco had to think that it was going to end up getting back to the Bay Area in this series, but after losing the first two games here in St. Louis, there is just one more chance to win to get it back home. Either way, the G-Men have to win three straight games to get to the Fall Classic, and that just doesn’t really seem all that likely. Still, you have to take it one game at a time, and the first game is going to be on the back of Barry Zito. The good news is that the he has led his team to a dozen straight victories, but the bad news is that that is probably more of a product of luck than skill. For example, Zito really wasn’t all that great against the Cincinnati Reds nine days ago when we last saw him on the bump, and he is going to need to be a heck of a lot better, especially with a tired bullpen that has pitched a ton of late, backing him up.
Manager Mike Matheny would clearly want to have Jamie Garcia on the mound in this one, but with Garcia out for the year, he really doesn’t have a heck of a lot of options aside from Lance Lynn. Lynn did win 18 games this year in the regular season, and he had a very respectable 3.78 ERA. However, the confidence wasn’t there in the righty to keep him in the starting rotation for the playoffs, and his time in the bullpen wasn’t exactly stellar. Lynn allowed two runs in three frames in a 12-4 win over the Washington Nationals in the NLDS Game 2, but he turned around in Game 4 out of the pen and allowed the game-winning homer to OF Jayson Werth, the first batter he faced. Then Lynn turned around and started Game 1 of this series, only to get the hook after 3.2 innings. He allowed four runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. That just won’t cut it. The only good news though, is that Lynn has a hot team in front of him, and he at least has a regular starter’s schedule now instead of pitching in and out of the bullpen and the rotation.
There’s just no way that we can back the Cards right now for a third straight game. The Giants are every bit as good as they are, and in the end, we think that they will get the job done and force this series back to AT&T Park this weekend. San Francisco 4 – St. Louis 3