San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals: NLCS Game 5 Preview and Predictions

The San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals will face off in Game 5 of the 2012 National League Championship Series on Friday night at Busch Stadium, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:07 ET on FOX

San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals   

The San Francisco Giants need C Buster Posey to break out of his postseason slump in Game 5

San Francisco will now have to overcome a 3-1 deficit against St. Louis if it plans to reach the 2012 World Series, as the team suffered an 8-3 setback on Thursday night.  “We worked hard to get here,” stated Giants outfielder Hunter Pence.  “Our backs are against the wall.”  The Giants have now lost consecutive games on the road for the first time since July 7-8, which was right before the All-Star break.  Catcher Buster Posey must break out of his postseason slump if the squad plans to come back in the postseason for a second time, as he’s hitting .182 since the regular season ended.  San Francisco is 15-6 in its last 21 games following a loss.

Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito (15-8, 4.15 ERA) was roughed up in a no-decision effort that ultimately led to an 8-3 road victory over the Cincinnati Reds, allowing two runs and four hits over 2.2 innings.  The left-hander went 7-3 with a 4.34 ERA in 15 road outings during the regular season, surrendering 12 home runs in 83 combined frames.  In nine career starts versus the Cardinals, Zito has compiled a 2-6 record and 4.89 ERA, including a 1-3 mark and 8.20 ERA at this ballpark.

St. Louis will have three chances to advance past this series, as the club could move on to play in a rematch of the 2006 World Series against the Detroit Tigers.  “We want to wrap it up,” stated Cardinals third baseman David Freese.  The Cardinals are 33-30 in NLCS games, including a 20-10 mark at home.  Since the best-of-seven format was introduced, 12 of the 14 teams to hold a 3-1 advantage advanced.  St. Louis is 36-15 in its last 51 home games.

Cardinals starting pitcher Lance Lynn (18-7, 3.78 ERA) has made five appearances in the playoffs this year, allowing seven runs and nine hits in 7.1 combined frames.  The right-hander went 9-4 with a 3.28 ERA in 15 home appearances (12 starts), with opposing hitters batting .220 against him.  In two career starts versus the Giants, Lynn has compiled an 0-2 record and 7.15 ERA.

Sports bettors will likely play the total, as the OVER is 5-1 in the Cardinals last six LCS games.

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