The San Francisco Giants are just one game away from elimination again, a story familiar to them not too long ago in this postseason. Once again, they'll hope Barry Zito can provide some good pitching and a little bit of luck in order to prolong their chances at another World Series appearance. Just last week in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds, Zito lasted just 2 2/3 innings and allowed two runs and four walks, but the Giants' hitters led them to the 8-3 road victory. Despite a couple shaky outings, the Giants have won 12 straight games started by Zito going all the way back to the first win of the streak on August 7 against the opponent for this game, the St. Louis Cardinals.
If the Giants find a way to win Game 5, they'll have a chance at repeating what they accomplished in the NLDS. After losing their first two games at home against the Reds, they went to the Great American Ball Park and won three straight game in the Reds' backyard. A rally against the Cardinals would also require three straight wins but instead would bring the series back for Games 6 and 7 in San Francisco at AT&T Park. However, this start by Zito is of utmost importance, especially since the Cardinals had the best batting average (.276), best on-base percentage (.338) and second-best slugging percentage (.450) in the National League against left handlers during the regular season.
As for the Cardinals, with their win on Thursday, they are just one win away from meeting the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. If they want to avoid a return trip to San Francisco for Game 6 and possibly Game 7, St. Louis would like to see Lance Lynn have a better pitching performance than what he had in Game 1 of the NLCS. In his first postseason start of his career, he lasted only 3 2/3 innings and allowed four runs in a game that was won by the Cardinals' success of Madison Bumgarner and effective bullpen. Given the success of their bats in this series, a decent outing by Lynn followed by the entrance of a dominant bullpen staff could be enough to end the NLCS at home.
The San Francisco Giants will visit the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium located in St. Louis, MO on Friday, October 19, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. PT.
Cardinals lead 3-1.
Starting pitcher matchup:
San Francisco: Barry Zito
2012 regular season: 15-8, 4.15 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 114 Ks
Career regular season numbers vs. Cardinals: 2-6, 4.89 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 44 Ks
Career regular season numbers at Busch Stadium: 1-3, 8.20 ERA, 1.98 WHIP, 17 Ks
St. Louis: Lance Lynn
2012 regular season: 18-7, 3.78 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 180 Ks
Career regular season numbers vs. Giants: 0-2, 7.15 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 11 K
Career regular season numbers at Busch Stadium: 9-5, 3.13 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 102 Ks
Where to watch and listen to the game:
The game can be nationally watched on FOX and heard live on ESPN Radio.
Key contributors of Game 4:
Marco Scutaro - 2-for-4, scored run in ninth inning
Pablo Sandoval - 1-for-4, two-run home run in ninth inning
Hunter Pence - 1-for-4, solo home run in second inning (first RBI of postseason)
Jon Jay - 2-for-5, one run, two RBIs
Matt Carpenter - 1-for-3, two runs, two walks
Matt Holliday - 2-for-5, one run, two RBIs
Yadier Molina - 2-for-4, one run, two RBIs
Adam Wainwright - 7.0 innings pitched, four hits allowed, one run scored, five strikeouts
Barry Zito Game Log, Yahoo! Sports
More from this contributor:
Austin Chang is a lifelong San Francisco Bay Area native, baseball fan, and supporter of the San Francisco Giants. Follow this Featured Contributor on Twitter @_austinchang.
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