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Posts Tagged ‘St. Louis Cardinals’

The San Francisco Giants closed out the National League Championship Series (NLCS) by 4 wins to 1 with a 6 to 3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on a three run, walk-off home run!!  Wow!!

2014 National League Championship Cap

2014 National League Championship Cap

2014 NLCS S.F. Giants T-Shirt

2014 NLCS S.F. Giants T-Shirt

Unbelievable!  The Giants start the World Series on Tuesday against the Kansas City Royals.  Format: 2-3-2; with the first two played in Kansas City by virtue of the American League victory in the All-Star Game earlier this year.  If we manage to steal one of the games back there – watch out!!
I predict this will be our fourth playoff series where we are the underdogs.  We’ve beaten the favored Pittsburgh Pirates. We’ve beaten the heavily favored Washington Nationals.  And now, we’ve beaten the slightly favored St. Louis Cardinals.  Based on the head to head competition this year, where the Royals swept the Giants in three games in K.C. back in August, a realistic person would have to give the Royals a definite edge.  They are a very good team which seems to be peaking at just the right time.  We seem to be a team which gets by on mostly smoke and mirrors.  Their strengths (power, speed at base running/stealing, and a lock down bullpen) all play to our weaknesses.  But, I still like our chances.  Once we bring them back to our ball park, their pitchers will have to hit.  They won’t be used to it and we’ll be able to claw our way back into the series.  I’m predicting a six game, 4-2 World Series win by the boys in Orange & Black.  Go Giants!!
I AM ORANGE INSIDE !!
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On This Day In:
2013 Walking The Walk
2012 Legacy Of Star Trek (TOS)
2011 Tolerating The Intolerant
Passionate Germs
2010 Giants Win Game 1 In Philly (4 to 3)!!

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Another exciting and well played game by both sides results in a come from behind 6 to 4 win by the Giants over the Cardinals.  This essentially reverses the position the two teams were in two years ago, when the Cards held the 3 game to 1 advantage over the Giants.  Of course, the Giants went on to win the 2012 NLCS by sweeping the three remaining games and ultimately going on to win the following World Series (against Detroit).  So the Giants know how quickly the opportunity to advance can slip away if you don’t keep up the pressure.
In tomorrow’s Game 5, we again have our ace (Madison Bumgarner) pitching against the St. Louis ace (Adam Wainwright).  We only need to win one of the next three (.333 ball), while the Cards need to win out (1.000 ball).  While it’s possible for the Cards to come back, it’s a tall hill to climb.  But, that’s why we play the games…   Go Giants!!!
I AM ORANGE INSIDE !!
.
On This Day In:
2013 More Than Just Words
2012 Egotist, n.
2011 Good And Bad

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The glory of baseball (and most other sport) is that when a game is well played and close the drama of the competition can turn the game into a thing of beauty.  This is what happened in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday.  Even though the team I support (the S.F. Giants) lost that game by 5 to 4 on the strength of four home runs by the St. Louis Cardinals, the game was thrilling, close and could have gone either way.  The Cardinals, who have been among the cellar dwellers for teams with home runs during the regular season, have suddenly found their power stroke.
Monday was a day off for travel and play resumed today for three games (and three days) here in San Francisco.
Today, the Giants returned the favor by winning Game 3 by the score of 5 to 4.  This was another “beautiful” game because although the Giants jumped out to a first inning lead of 4 to 0, they let the Cards hang around and hang around until they finally tied the game and sent it into extra innings.  In the 10th inning, the Giants did what they have been doing this whole postseason – they found a way to win.  The got a walk, a funky hit and then a bunt which allowed a walk-off runner to score when the pitcher threw a wild toss to 1st base to try to get the force out.  The ball sailed inside the man covering first base and down the baseline into the warm up area.  The runner was safe at first and the Giants won.  What should have been an “easy” out (meant to simply advanced the runners) ended up an error to win the game.
Well, as unconvincing as the win may have been, we’ll take it.  The Giants are now up 2 – 1 in the series with four games left and the next two are here at home.  We need to play .500 ball to advance.  The Cards need to play .750 to advance.  Pretty long odds for the “Birds On A Stick”.  Historically, when a team wins game 1 on the road and is 2 – 1 in the Series, they win game four  59% of the time and the seven game series 68% of the time.  Not as dominating a percentage as I would have hoped for, but still much better than being in the reverse.  So, on to Game 4!!
I AM ORANGE INSIDE !!
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On This Day In:
2013 Deliver Us Something Larger
2012 Bore, n.
2011 Attaining High Office

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Well, as I said in a prior post, it’s starting to look like “Katie-bar-the-door”…  !!!  The S.F. Giants defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series by 3 to 0!!!
Madison Bumgarner, our ace southpaw, pitched a dominating game (7-2/3 innings, 4 hits, no runs allowed) on his way to breaking a 90 year old record for consecutive playoff innings without allowing a run.  The current record is now MadBum’s and stands at 26-2/3rd innings (and counting).
The Giants scored two of their three runs off of Card miscues, so we’re still waiting for the offense to wake up.  The good news is when you don’t allow ANY opposition runs, you only have to score 1 run to win the game.  So we did have a little insurance.
So, for now, it’s mission accomplished!  We’ve gone to their home and taken game 1.  Now, we only need to play .500 ball in the next six games while they have to play .666 ball to move on to the World Series.  Both teams are certainly capable of playing to that level, but the burden is now definitely on St. Louis to win Game 2.  For the regular season, the Cards won 2 more games than the Giants and finished with a .556 winning percentage, to .543 for the Giants.  It’s far more likely the Giants will continue to play .543 ball and advance, than it is the Card’s will jump from .556 to .666.  But, that’s why we play the games.  Both teams are tested champions and I still expect the series to go at least six games.
Tomorrow is Game 2 and then the teams fly to San Francisco for three games.  The NCLS playoff format this year is 2-3-2.  Two games in St. Louis; three games in San Francisco; and, the final two games back in St. Louis.  Of course, the last three games are only played if necessary.
On the downside, the Baltimore Orioles have now given up games 1 and 2 in the American League Championship Series – both at home to the Kansas City Royals.  Baltimore now needs to win 4 of the remaining 5 games to win the ALCS and go to the World Series.  .800 ball is asking a whole lot with the next three games in Kansas City, so it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be the all Orange & Black World Series I was hoping for.
I AM ORANGE INSIDE !!
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On This Day In:
2013 Running To
2012 Suddenly
2011 Liberal Washington
2010 Giants Advance To NLCS!!

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As I predicted, the S.F. Giants have advanced to the National League Championship Series (a best of seven) by defeating the Washington (D.C.) Nationals in four games of their best of five NLDS series (National League Division Series).
The Giants have now gone on the road to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wildcard playoff game, and then the best (based on regular season records) team in the National League.  The later by winning the first two games of the series in Washington.  As stated in previous years posts about baseball, in the playoffs, it is very difficult to beat any team three or four times in a row, so the Giants had to only “survive” by winning one of the last three games in the five game series and they were fortunate to be playing the second set of two games at home in San Francisco.
Having said that, the Giants entered game three with every hope of a three game sweep.  They had their best pitcher (Madison Bumgarner) on the mound and most of the National’s were batting extremely poorly.  As it turned out, the Nat’s managed to manufacture just enough runs to squeak by in game three, but their luck ran out while seven of their starting nine continued in tragically bad hitting slumps.
So, now the Giants face a familiar foe – the St. Louis Cardinals, with the first two games being played at the Cards’ home park.  This is kind of a “rubber-match” series for these two teams as both teams have won two World Series Championships in the last four years.  The winner of this series will have a definite leg up in being able to stake claim to being the “team of the decade”.  Of course this assumes the National League Champ goes on to win the World Series over the American League Champ.  (This is by no means, a given…)
Anyway, the immediate goal is to go back to St. Louis and win at least one of the first two.  If we can do that, Katie-bar-the-door, the Giants will be on their way…  Go Giants!!
I AM ORANGE INSIDE !!
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On This Day In:
2013 Nothing Ridiculous
2012 Keeping Faith
2011 Summon Us, Don’t Criticize Us
2010 Obama’s Wars – Book Review
Game Two – Hearbreaking Loss

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Well, yesterday – and last night – we had one of the most intense baseball games I’ve ever sat through in my life.  The game started in the afternoon and ended over six hours later.  It was the longest running (6 Hours and 23 Minutes) baseball game in playoff history and tied for the most innings played (18) in playoff history.
The Nationals scored early taking a 1 to 0 lead and holding it through eight and two-thirds innings.  The Giants tied the game in the 9th inning and then played the equivalent of an entire second game (a “normal” game is only nine innings) to get the winning run off of a solo home run (from Brandon Belt) in the top of the 18th inning.  The Giants then held on for the final three outs to leave Washington D.C with a 2 game to 0 lead in a best of five series.
As I mentioned in my prior post – Orange October (I) – the team that wins the first game in a five game series wins the series 70% (historically) of the time
Sixty-eight (68) teams in major league history have lost the first two games of a five-game series.  Only eight have come back to win the next three games.  And, of those eight, just two did so after losing the first two games at home.  The issue(s) the Giants face are: 1) they are playing the winningest team in the National League this year (96 wins); 2) this same team has already come in to AT&T and defeated the Giants in three out of four games back in June; and 3) the Giants know a team can come back to win the last three in a best of five series because they were the last team to do it – just two years ago!
In any case, 3 out of 69 are pretty long odds and I like the Giants chances to finish the Nat’s in Game 3.  Then it’s wait until the end of the 2nd series – between the St. Louis Cardinals and the L.A. Dodgers.  Hopefully, the Cards take L.A the full five games before beating them and then we get to face the Cards with a rested team.  Still, it’s all in the hands of the baseball gods at this point…
I AM ORANGE INSIDE !!
.
On This Day In:
2013 Fulfilled Acceptance
2012 Error Is Tolerated Here (So Far)
2011 In Defense Of Pain

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