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Major League Baseball
Preview
St. Louis at San Francisco
When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, October 16, 2014
Where: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California

Madison Bumgarner dazzled against St. Louis in Game 1 and looks to clinch the series when the San Francisco Giants host the Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday. The left-handed ace tossed 7 2/3 stellar innings in a 3-0 victory that made it three straight strong outings this postseason and fueled talk of him being the best pitcher in the postseason. “That’s an awfully big compliment,” Bumgarner told reporters. “But no, I don’t think about any of that.”

The Giants pushed their series lead to 3-1 with a 6-4 victory on Wednesday behind three RBIs from catcher Buster Posey. Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright had a shaky outing while opposing Bumgarner in Game 1 and is vying to redeem himself and keep his team alive. “You take a competitor like that and someone who has had success and you put them on this stage, and they can’t wait to go out there and then be the ace of our staff,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said in a press conference. “It’s just right now, he’s working hard to get that real good feel.”

TV: 8:07 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Adam Wainwright (0-1, 8.00 ERA) vs. Giants LH Madison Bumgarner (2-1, 0.76)

Wainwright hasn’t made it through the fifth inning in two postseason starts and threw a bullpen session in San Francisco trying to get himself on track. “I just have to have all my weapons out there with me, preferably,” Wainwright said in his press conference. “If not, I’ll grind my way through it and I’ll find a way to make it happen. But it helps when you’ve got all your weapons.” Wainwright continues to insist his right elbow isn’t an issue.

Bumgarner allowed two earned runs in 23 2/3 innings this postseason and has struck out 23 against just three walks. He said facing the Cardinals a second straight start means being ready to change the game plan on the fly. “If they force you to make adjustments, you have to be able to do it,” Bumgarner said. “If they make adjustments and you can’t, you’re going to be in trouble.”

WALK-OFFS

1. Cardinals LF Matt Holliday went 3-for-5 in Game 4 after going 1-for-13 over the first three games.

2. San Francisco RHP Santiago Casilla hasn’t allowed a run in 11 consecutive appearances (12 innings) since last giving up a run on Sept. 11.

3. St. Louis CF Jon Jay reached base three times in Game 4 and is 7-for-14 with two walks in the series.

PREDICTION: Giants 2, Cardinals 1
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
St. Louis 94-76 L2 54-31 40-45 17-16 45-31 24-17 8-12
San Francisco 95-76 W2 48-37 47-39 25-13 20-17 40-36 10-10
Last Meeting
St. Louis San Francisco
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
10/15/14 STL 4 SF 6 .314 1 .870 .344 0 .842
Player Stats
NL  Championship Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
St. Louis O. Taveras 1.000 2 3.500
San Francisco A. Susac 1.000 1 2.000
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
St. Louis K. Wong 2 3 4
San Francisco B. Posey 0 3 3
Pitching ERA Avg K
St. Louis 4.11 .242 20
San Francisco 3.25 .259 27
Playoffs
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
St. Louis O. Taveras .500 3 1.500
San Francisco J. Arias .500 1 1.000
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
St. Louis M. Carpenter 4 6 8
San Francisco B. Crawford 1 5 5
Pitching ERA Avg K
St. Louis 3.99 .240 56
San Francisco 2.10 .245 76