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Oct 22 2012

2012 NL Championship Series- Cardinals at Giants, Game 6

I’ll be kicking of tonight’s Game 6 of the National League Championship. ek hornbeck has been traveling this weekend and without internet access (hmmm, no cell phone either). While, I don’t quite have the same panache and mastery of my erstwhile friend, I will do my best using my limited knowledge of the “Great American Pastime” to inform and entertain you. My Pop used to take me to Yankee home games back in the 50’s, and with ek hornbeck’s expertise much of what Pop taught me about the basics of the game is coming back to me now.

We expected this series to be over Friday night, after the 8 – 3 blow out to the Cardinals on Thursday. The Giants fooled us and pulled off a 5 zip win that was pitched mostly by Barry Zito who was  left off the postseason roster when the Giants won the World Series in 2010. According to the New York Times sports writer, Tyler Kepner, if the Giants win the “pennant”, Zito will pitch Game 1 of the World Series against Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. However, the next two games are “must wins” for the Giants, as the Cardinals lead the series with 3 wins.

Tonight the pitching battle will be between the Giant’s right-handed, Ryan Vogelsong and the Cardinal’s right-handed, Chris Carpenter. This is Kepner’s analysis of the series so far:

The series has yielded few trends and little tension. The eventual winning team has never trailed at the end of any inning. Three games have been decided by at least five runs, somewhat obscuring the stellar work of both bullpens.

“We feel confident in our stuff,” said the Cardinals’ closer, Jason Motte, with good reason. Motte and his primary setup men – Mitchell Boggs, Edward Mujica and Trevor Rosenthal – have allowed one run in 111/3 innings.

That run came off Boggs in the eighth inning of Game 5, when Pablo Sandoval hooked a homer down the right-field line. Sandoval also homered in the ninth inning of Game 4, making him the only player in the series with more than one home run.

Sandoval is 13 for 42 (.310) in the postseason, and his fans should be out in force at AT&T Park, wearing Panda hats. Like Zito, he has rediscovered a star that had dimmed two years ago. A late-season slump that stretched into the 2010 playoffs put Sandoval on the bench for four of the Giants’ five World Series games. [..]

The Cardinals have done a better job containing Buster Posey, the N.L. batting champion and the favorite for the M.V.P. award. Posey has managed just three singles in 18 at-bats this series, while his St. Louis counterpart, Yadier Molina, leads the Cardinals’ regulars with a .350 average.

Posey and Molina were behind the plate at the end of the last two World Series, and the pedigrees of the teams they guide may be the real story of this N.L.C.S. The Cardinals seem to thrive on brinkmanship, coming one strike from elimination in each of their last two postseason series, only to prevail in the end. The Giants won three elimination games on the road to win their division series.

But one game at a time, tonight’s game could go either way.

So in honor of the Giant’s home stadium advantage, don’t stop believing.

Senior League Games will be carried on Faux.

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