The Giants have put together timely hitting and solid starts from a cast most (me included) didn’t think had anything left to give.  Tim Hudson and Jake Peavy are a combined 72 years old, and promptly pitched them into the next round of the post season with solid starts in games 1&2 against Washington.  Ryan Vogelsong and his 8-13 regular season record put them into the NLCS.  Unfortunatly manager Bruce Bochy won’t be managing against Matt Williams again. 
  1. Madison Bumgarner
  2. Tim Hudson
  3. Jake Peavy
  4. Ryan Vogelsong
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!  With the time between finishing off the Nats and the start of game 1 Bruce Bochy will have the opportunity to set his rotation how he wants, and that clearly means Bumgarner pitches game 1 here.  Vogelsong may not get the chance to pitch game 4 if they are down in the series as Bumgarner would likely come back on short rest.  The bullpen is suddenly headlined by unknown Hunter Strickland and his 100 mph fastball.  He will likely see most duty in the 7th inning or a runner(s) on situation in the 6th inning to bridge the gap to Sergio Romo and Santiago Castilla in the 8th and 9th innings.  Jeremy Affeldt retains his lefty specialist role out of the bullpen and should the situation call for it an inning later fellow lefty Javier Lopez will face one left handed hitter.  Should a starter fail to find his rhythm early Yusmerio Petit will take long relief duties.  Oh Tim Lincecum, how you must feel right now. 
This post season Buster Posey has done what the Giants and the West Coast already knows, he hits and hits consistently to the tune of .391 this post season.  Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford have also contributed big hits this post season when the team needed them.  What the lineup really needs is Michael Morse to come back and be anything close to a regular player as Travis Ishikawa is killing them at the plate (.154), his replacement Juan Perez is hitless and Gregor Blanco is a paltry .091.  Morse isn’t going to take over CF for Blanco but taking Ishikawa out of the lineup improves by subtraction, unless Morse finds himself in a golden sombrero situation. 
Defense/Pinch hitting:
The aforementioned Perez, Gary Brown, Matt Duffy and Andrew Susac are the pinch hitters the Giants are sending to the plate these days, they have contributed 0 hits.  Perez is a better fielder than Ishikawa and will sub in late in games. 


Is this team built for this stuff or what? Mike Matheny’s crew showed the Dodgers what clutch and post season experience means by taking them and MVP Clayton Kershaw, down in 4 games.  Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, and Matt Adams took turns getting big hits when the team needed them and will look to do the same against a pitching staff they have hit well against this year.  Matheny knows ace Adam Wainwright’s shoulder is barking and likely won’t be over extended in game 1 with foresight to the back end of the series. 
  1. Adam Wainwright
  2. Lance Lynn
  3. John Lackey
  4. Shelby Miller
Wainwright will be the key to this series, if he can put 6 innings together and hand over either a tie game or a lead to the bullpen the Cardinals fortunes look pretty rosy.  Lance Lynn is nothing but consistent and would certainly be favored in a matchup with Tim Hudson at home.  John Lackey and his post season experience will start in San Francisco.  He has not faced the Giants this season and for this reason holds an edge for at least the first time through the lineup.  The interesting thing about the Cardinals rotation is that due to their relative ease in dispatching the Nats they did not use Michael Wacha.  He could be an answer to Bochy’s use of Hunter Strickland in the 7th inning if his arm/shoulder is fit.  The bullpen of course is loaded with guys that get people out in varying ways.  Carlos Martinez is the young fire-baller, Pat Neshek of the side arm delivery and Marco Gonzalez who earned two wins in relief in the Division series.  They are followed by trusted closer Trevor Rosenthal in the 9th.  Randy Choate is the veteran lefty specialist with Seth Maness likely to pitch innings where they are behind. 
Matheny has put clutch hitter after clutch hitter in the lineup.  He made the move to insert Randall Grichuk into the 2nd spot and play RF for the struggling Oscar Taveras and all he did was hit a home run to start the scoring against Kershaw in game 1.  He follows Matt Carpenter who is 11-21 this season versus the Giants projected rotation.  The rest of the lineup is below or well below their season averages save for Jon Jay who is 5-11 with a walk.   It’s clear this team thrives on big hits and each member of the lineup takes turns who will play hero on any given day.  It is worth noting Yadier Molina has 84 games of post season experience in his career and has yet to make an impact this post season.  Matt Holliday and Matt Adams form a righty lefty combo in the middle of the order that can hit the long ball, and hit it against same side pitching which is a huge asset in the post season. 
Defense/Pinch hitting:
Pete Kozma, Peter Bourjos and Oscar Taveras have been the pinch hitters thus far with only Taveras having gotten a hit.  Bourjos will enter the game to play CF in the late innings pushing Jay over to RF and Grichuk to the bench after Taveras hits for the pitcher.  The Cardinals have no stolen bases this post season but do have guys who can go from 1st to 3rd on a hit. 
This is a difficult matchup to predict as several factors weigh in against each other to negate advantages.  The managers won’t see any advantage by the other making tactical errors like last series either.  The Cardinals have a pitching advantage as I don’t see the Giants veterans and 4th starter repeating their previous performances. 
Cardinals in 6.