I did the ALCS yesterday, so it’s time for the NLCS and find out what to watch for in the NLCS.
1) Pitching Duels
We were promised these in the NLDS, but we didn’t get as many as we thought we would, especially in the STL/LA series. Well, depending on whether Madison Bumgarner starts game one or not, and whether Jake Peavy’s resurgence is for real, we might get them here. Adam Wainwright’s health is an issue, but we have three other steady options in Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller and John Lackey.
2) Battle Of The Franchise Catchers
Neither team would be where they are right now without their catcher. Yadier Molina is known more for his defense while Buster Posey is known more for his offense, but the truth is both have all-around games. Posey is an excellent pitch framer, while Yadi’s BA was .282, solid, but also his lowest since 2011, indicating it has a good chance to rebound next year, particularly due to the fact he was injured part of the year.
3) Cluster Bombing
Our top three hitters in our projected lineup (Matt Carpenter, Jon Jay, and Matt Holliday) all have OBP’s of .370 or higher, giving them a good chance to get on base together and create some havoc, especially if the hitters behind them like Matt Adams and Jhonny Peralta are having good days. In contrast, the Giants only have one projected starter with an OBP over 360 and that’s Posey.
4) The Defenses
Both teams have solid defenses, but it’ll be how they use them that matters. For example, the Giants starting the recently returned Michael Morse in LF and absorbing his atrocious glove, or keeping him on the bench as a valuable bench bat. Chances are he’ll be a late inning sub for his bat. The same is true for the Jon Jay / Peter Bourjos, only in reverse as Bourjos would come in for his glove.
5) Bullpen Management
Both teams have versatile bullpens, but while Matheny is pretty rigid in his usage, Bochy is flexible, and as I’ve written before, that could be the key to the series.
So who wins? I like our lineup better, especially our top three, and I think we’ll get on base and score more, and be backed up by our solid pitching staff.
As always, thanks for reading.