SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
at ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
NL Championship Series Game 4 Ė St. Louis leads series 2-1
First pitch: Thursday, 8:05 p.m. EDT
Line: St. Louis -130, San Francisco +120, Total: 7
Adam Wainwright will look to pitch his Cardinals to a 3-1 NLCS lead as he takes on Tim Lincecum and the Giants in Game 4 on Thursday night.
Lincecum may have run into a bit of luck, with Carlos Beltranís status for the game (knee) uncertain. Beltran is among the best postseason hitters in baseball with a .375 average, 14 HR and 25 RBI in 31 career playoff games. Furthermore, he owns Lincecum with seven hits in 14 career at-bats. Lincecum struggled this season with a 5.18 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 10-15 record, but he has looked phenomenal out of the bullpen with a 1.08 ERA and 0.48 WHIP in 8.1 innings of relief in this postseason, earning him the start on Thursday. In his career, he has dominated October baseball with a 2.18 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 4-1 record in nine outings (five starts). Wainwright, on the other hand, enters this game coming off one of his worst starts of the season. He lasted just 2.1 innings against the Nationals, allowing three home runs and six earned runs before being pulled. Dating back to August 31, he is 1-4. Given the recent performances of these two pitches and Beltranís absence, take SAN FRANCISCO as road underdogs to tie up this series at two games apiece.
This three-star FoxSheets trend also sides with the Giants:
SAN FRANCISCO is 35-15 (70.0%, +20.9 Units) against the money line after scoring 2 runs or less this season. The average score was SAN FRANCISCO 4.0, OPPONENT 3.1 - (Rating = 3*).
Lincecumís struggles were worse on the road in 2012 with a 6.43 ERA and 1.56 WHIP away from San Francisco. But there are few teams he likes pitching against as much as St. Louis, against whom he has a 5-1 career record (team is 6-1) with a 2.89 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. The Giants will certainly need to score more than the one run they put on the board in the last game, but if they can hand the bullpen a lead, manager Bruce Bochy should be pretty confident. San Francisco relievers have a 2.25 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in the playoffs, compiling a 2-0 record. Take these road underdogs to even up the NLCS.
Filling in for Beltran if he is unable to go will be rookie Matt Carpenter, who has never faced Lincecum in his career, but has owned the Giants. He is 8-for-14 against the Redbirds with four RBI, including a huge two-run homer in Game 3. And even though Wainwright has a 7.88 ERA and 2.00 WHIP in this postseason, he has shown the form to be a great late season pitcher. In his career, largely as a reliever in the 2006 postseason, he has a 2.81 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over 12 playoff games, three of which have been starts. He is 2-4 with a 3.04 ERA in his career versus the Giants, going 1-4 with 2.89 ERA in his six starts against them. The last time he faced San Francisco on Aug. 9, he allowed one earned run in seven innings, piling up seven strikeouts. If he struggles on Thursday though, at least he is supported by an awesome bullpen that has a 1.93 ERA and 1.10 WHIP so far this postseason. And even without Beltran, Wainwright has the potential for run support pitching behind a St. Louis lineup that is hitting .283 at home this season with 5.0 runs per game.