The NLCS has been a battle so far. The Ninja breaks down the NLCS Game 7 and points out both teams’ keys to victory.
There is nothing better in sports than a decisive Game 7 and this is what the NLCS has boiled down to between the St Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants. The Cardinals have been trying to punch their ticket to the World Series in consecutive years for the last two games, but the scrappy and gritty Giants have fought them off. The Giants are coming off of back-to-back wins, and their second home win in the 2012 playoffs due to Ryan Vogelsong’s 7 inning, 1 earned run, 9k performance in Game 6. Here are the key components of Game 7.
Key Components for the Cardinals to win NLCS Game 7 and advance to the World Series.
If the Cardinals are going to win tonight and reach their second World Series in as many years they have to get production from the top of their lineup, especially from OF John Jay. Jay had a great regular season where he hit over .300 and swiped 19 bags to go along with his .373 on base percentage, but has struggled mightily in the postseason as he is hitting .184 with a .226 on base percentage. The lead off man may be the most important spot in the lineup in a Game 7 as it is their job to work the count and get on base, which will lead to the starter throwing high stress pitches early in the game. Carlos Beltran has been on fire this postseason hitting .368 with 4 HRs and 6 RBI’s out of the number three spot in the lineup. If Jay can find a way to reach base it is likely that Beltran will knock him in making Jay a very important player to watch tonight for Cardinal fans. The other key player for the Cardinals tonight will be their starting pitcher Kyle Lohse. Lohse pitched the Cardinals into the 2012 postseason as he went 5.2 innings allowing only 2 runs and striking out 6 against the Atlanta Braves in the NL Wild Card game. In the two postseason games that Lohse has started he has averaged 6.1 innings, 3.5 strikeouts, and 1 earned run. Lohse has found a way to put his team in a spot to win the game in each of his postseason starts, look for him to step up big tonight for the Cardinals.
Key Components for the Giants to win Game 7 and advance to the World Series.
If the Giants are going to win tonight and advance to their second World Series in the past three years they have to get production out of their best player, Buster Posey. Posey is in the midst of a dreadful postseason where he is hitting .171 with 10 strikeouts and has a slugging percentage under .380. It’s hard to believe such a talent like Posey is struggling so much but even more puzzling is that he is hitting worse in NLCS (.131). It has not been all bad for Posey though, as he has been contributing to the team by being a rock behind the plate and by calling great games puts his pitchers in the best scenario to succeed. This leads to the other key player tonight for the Giants, starting pitcher Matt Cain. Cain is a certified Ace of any staff as he has the tools to shut down any lineup on any day with his average fastball, above average curveball, and devastating change up. Cain has struggled through this postseason to limit the big inning and this is something manager Bruce Bochy will keep a close eye on in tonight’s decisive Game 7. The Ninja feels like Cain is going to step up and ride the emotion of the Game 7 crowd, which should be electric tonight at AT&T Park in San Francisco.