Jason Storm
Free Pick Newsletter Lead Researcher
192-123-1 Overall Record

MLB Playoff Predictions: San Francisco Giants (+145) vs St Louis Cardinals (-155) Over – Under 7.5

The inevitable end of the San Francisco Giants season is on the horizon. As I reiterated last night, in an easy win with the Cardinals, there was a white flag waived by Bruce Bochy when he started Tim Lincecum.  I don’t think he necessarily meant to say to his club it’s time to lay down and die, but he had enough foresight to know that his team had a better chance with Lincecum than Madison Bumgarner.  It’s unfortunate that the Giants starting pitching isn’t at it’s peak.  This would have been a great series if their starters were at full strength.  Make no mistake, the Cardinals field an offense that is impressive, but they’ve been able to feast on arms that aren’t 100%.

 

As I wrote yesterday, the Cardinals bring in a lineup that is 38-17 against left-handed pitching, including 1-0 in the series. Any Nationals fans remember a lefty who struggled in two starts against the Cardinals?  The Cardinals hit .276 against lefties in the regular season, a full 6 points higher than their average against righties.  Bochy is left resting the Giants’ hopes on left-handed Barry Zito. Look for another offensive fest typical of the Cardinals as they will be paced by Allen Craig, 5th in OPS in the NL against lefties this season.  Craig hits extremely well against Zito going .400 with 3 home runs in just 10 at-bats against Zito. It was huge for Yadier Molina, who hits Tim Lincecum well (.412 before last nights game), to get rolling going 2 for 4.   It took a great play by Angel Pagan to keep him from going 3 for 4.  Look for Molina to have another quality offensive performance as he owns a .375 average against Zito, and .342 this season against lefties this season.

 

The key in tonight’s matchup will be the performance of Lance Lynn.  In game 1, he couldn’t escape the fourth inning against the Giants.  As I wrote last night,  Adam Wainwright would pitch much better than his game 5 ALDS start against the Nationals.  The key is being at home.  Lance Lynn was impressive this season at home, going 9-4 with a 3.28 ERA.  That being said, he can’t be counted for more than 5 innings.   The last time he pitched 5 innings was September 30th, and I believe that was part of his ineffectiveness against the Giants in Game 1 as he looked better the first three innings.   How will the Cardinals bullpen handle a game in what will most likely lack a quality start.  If their postseason form is any clue, quite well.  They have a 2.29 ERA this postseason, and are arguably the Cardinals MVP this season.  See game 5 of the NLDS and game 1 of the NLCS.  If you throw out the 2 runs allowed by Fernando Salas in what were meaningless innings,  the bullpen ERA is 1.92.  Who scores the first run tonight will be huge.  The Giants don’t have any pressure on them tonight.  The Cardinals NEED to win to keep up with the Tigers.  Even with the Cardinals having Chris Carpenter and Kyle Lohse for game 6,  they really want to be able to throw them in Games 1 and 2 as they NEED to have Carpenter and Lohse throw four of the seven starts to have a shot at the series against the Tigers.  I see Lynn having a good first two innings, and the Cardinals taking advantage of Barry Zito and not looking back.

 

If the Giants can somehow make it to Game 6 with one win from either aging former superstars, they could still pull this series out. However, the fact remains this series is going 5, and the Cardinals, to many people’s chagrin, will represent the National League again in the World Series.  The Cardinals win again big tonight.  I have to make a confession, due to time constraints I sometimes have to release my plays before odds come out.  That is the case mostly in the postseason as Vegas attempts to avoid getting hit hard.  Last night the cardinals were only -130 favorites, when they easily should have been -170 or more.  As you know, at -160 you have to win 61.5% of the time, just to break even.  That’s why you will rarely see me put a play at -160 or higher as it’s just poor bankroll management.  That being said, -155 with the Cards is the right play!

 

Pick Cardinal -155

 

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