NLCS preview: How the teams match up

San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (C) celebrates with teammates after defeating the...

San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (C) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Cincinnati Reds to win Game 5 of their MLB NLDS playoff baseball series in Cincinnati, Ohio October 11, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

Bob Elliott, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:44 PM ET

Cards (88-74) vs. Giants (94-68)

Teams split six meetings

 

Cards

How they got here: Beat the Nationals with four runs in the ninth, beat Atlanta using in the wild-card game.

Team payroll: $110.3 million (9th)

Octobers: 11 World Series, 18 pennants, 22 playoff appearances.

Post-season record: 115-97

Last post season: 2011, World Series champs.

Manager: Mike Matheny.

Theme: “Repeating is easy without Tony.”

Starting: If every month was October, Chris Carpenter might be undefeated. Kyle Lohse may face Matt Cain in Game 3 and a possible 7. They also have Adam Wainwright. Lance Lynn or Shelby Miller will replace injured Jaime Garcia.

Bullpen: Jason Motte saved 42 of 49 (86%) during the season. They’ll turn to Mitchell Boggs, Fernando Salas, Marc Rzepczynski and Victor Marte to bridge the gap from starter to closer.

In the box: When the leaves turn, batting averages dip as rotations shorten. Someone forgot to tell the Cards who scored 38 runs in their first six playoff games, including the win over Atlanta.

Fielding: CF Jon Jay has made Cards fans forget Colby Rasmus. The Cards have the best catcher in the game in Yadier Molina, allowing only 45 unearned runs during the regular season, matching the A’s for fewest among playoff teams.

J factor: Carpenter is back from injury -- see the Jays were right in 2002. Plus there’s lefty Rzepczynski and former catcher Matheny.

Canadian content: Bullpen catcher Jamie Pogue from Guelph.

Canada’s team: 6th of 10 post-season teams.

Bodog odds to win World Series: 15-1.

 

Giants

Team payroll: $117.6 Million (8th)

Octobers: One World Series title, four pennants and nine playoff appearances.

Post-season record: 27-25.

Last post season: Won 2010 World Series.

Manager: Bruce Bochy.

Theme: “We’re not leaving our hearts anywhere but on the mound after Game 7 celebrations in San Francisco.”

Starting: Not the same rotation as 2010, even if the names have not been changed. Starters had a 5.16 ERA vs. the Reds and no one went deeper than 5 2/3 innings. Matt Cain may pitch Games 3 and 7, if needed. Tim Lincecum could return to the rotation replacing Barry Zito,

Bullpen: Despite losing bearded Brian Wilson in the spring, the Giants are deep with lefties Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez, innings eater George Kontos, and then Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo to close things out. Bruce Bochy said the reason for beating the Reds was his bullpen, which could shy Lincecum.

In the box: Look at the Giants lineup and outside of Buster Posey -- two homers against the Reds -- what name jumps out at you and makes you say “hey I wish my team had that guy?”

Fielding: RF Hunter Pence looks like Big Bird when he runs, but always seems to get there. CF Angel Pagan can do the job as well.

J factor: INF Marco Scutaro.

Canadian content: Part owner Jeff Mallett, of Victoria, B.C. and super scout Ray Calari from Montreal.

Canada’s team: Ranked 7th of 10 post-season teams.

Bodog odds to win World Series: 15-2.


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