NLCS Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, October 19th
(All times Eastern)
San Francisco Giants (4-5) at St. Louis Cardinals (7-3), 8:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: San Francisco - Barry Zito (0-0, 6.75)
St. Louis - Lance Lynn (1-1, 8.59)
(Sports Network) - The St. Louis Cardinals attempt to get back to the World
Series for the second straight season on Friday when they try to eliminate the
San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series at
St. Louis moved to the brink of another NL pennant on Thursday, as Adam
Wainwright tossed seven stellar innings in an 8-3 triumph to give the Cards a
3-1 series advantage.
Wainwright (1-0) was roughed up for six runs in only 2 1/3 innings in his Game
5 NLDS start against the Washington Nationals, but his teammates bailed him
out by mounting one of the most improbable comebacks in division series
history to advance to the NLCS.
The 31-year-old right-hander redeemed himself on Thursday, limiting the Giants
to one run on four hits with five strikeouts and no walks to earn the victory.
"A little part of me wanted to really prove it to myself that I could go out
there and pitch great when we need me to," Wainwright said of disappointing
start in Game 5 of the NLDS. "I was very confident in my ability and my stuff,
I just needed to trust it and go out there and make pitches and tonight I was
able to execute."
Jon Jay, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina each registered two RBI, while Allen
Craig and Pete Kozma added an RBI apiece for the defending champions, who will
be trying for their 19th NL pennant with a win on Friday.
St. Louis was once again without slugger Carlos Beltran, who injured his knee
in Game 3. Beltran, though, hopes to be in the lineup on Friday.
"Right now, the plan is to come in tomorrow and do what I have to do in order
to be in the lineup," Beltran said. "Today was a better day for me, better
History is certainly on the Cardinals' side. Since the best-of-seven LCS
format was introduced, 12 of the 14 teams to hold a 3-1 NLCS advantage have
gone to the World Series.
Tim Lincecum (1-1) was knocked around in his first start of the postseason,
giving up four runs on six hits and three walks over 4 2/3 frames.
Pablo Sandoval crushed a two-run homer in the ninth and Hunter Pence added a
solo shot, but the Giants dropped consecutive road games for the first time
since July 7-8 of this season.
On Friday, the Cards turn to righty Lance Lynn, who was an 18-game winner in
the regular season, but is just 1-1 with an 8.59 ERA in the postseason. Lynn
was roughed up in his Game 1 start against the Giants to the tune of four runs
and five hits in 3 2/3 innings, but escaped without a decision.
Lynn had pitched in relief three days earlier and had pitched three times in
four in four days prior to those two days' rest, including a three-inning
relief stint in Game 2 of the NL Division Series against Washington.
"It's just a game," Lynn said. "You've got to go out and execute and do what
you're supposed to do. Any game at this time of the year is going to have a
lot riding on it. It's going to be an exciting game. They're going to come
fight. They don't want to be done, and we want to move on, so it's going to be
an exciting game."
Working in Lynn's favor in Game 5 is the fact that he was significantly better
at Busch Stadium this season than on the road, posting a 9-4 record and 3.28
ERA at home.
San Francisco, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Barry Zito, who won his
final seven regular season starts, but couldn't get out of the third inning
in his lone postseason appearance.
"It was an elimination game the last time I pitched," Zito said. "So it's not
like it will be a new experience."
Zito started Game 4 of the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds, but did not get a
decision, despite allowing two runs and four hits with four walks in just 2
2/3 innings of his team's 8-3 win.
He had gone 3-0 with a 2.29 ERA over his first three career road playoff
starts before facing Cincinnati. The Giants have also won the last 12 times he
has taken the hill.
"We've been winning a whole bunch behind him," said Pence. "I'm looking
forward to his start. We have all the confidence in him."
Zito was 15-8 with a 4.15 ERA this season.
San Francisco has played the Cardinals twice before in the playoffs. St. Louis
edged the Giants in a thrilling seven-game series in 1987, but San Francisco
got its revenge in 2002 with a five-game win in the LCS.
This is the first matchup between the two previous World Series winners since
the New York Yankees and Milwaukee Braves dueled in the 1958 Fall Classic.
If necessary, Game 6 of this series will be played on Sunday at AT&T Park.
10/19 10:24:01 ET