NLCS betting preview: Cardinals at Giants

St. Louis Cardinals at San Francisco Giants (-111, 6.5)

St. Louis leads series 1-0.

The San Francisco Giants are still seeking their first win at home in the postseason as they prepare to face the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. The Giants dropped the best-of-seven series opener 6-4 on Sunday when David Freese and Carlos Beltran each hit two-run homers to lead the Cardinals’ attack. San Francisco, which is in danger of losing its first two games at home for the second straight playoff series, turns to Ryan Vogelsong in Game 2. Matt Cain will start Game 3, with Tim Lincecum expected to start Game 4 despite throwing two scoreless innings in relief on Sunday. The Giants’ rotation hasn’t recorded a quality start through six postseason games, and Madison Bumgarner’s status is in doubt after another shaky outing in Game 1.

While the Giants have been outscored 20-6 in their three postseason losses at AT&T Park, the Cardinals quickly made themselves comfortable on Sunday. Freese’s home run pushed his career postseason total to six, and Beltran’s blast was his 14th career postseason home run in 108 at-bats. Freese has 25 RBI in his first 25 career postseason games, tying him for second all time behind Lou Gehrig, who had 32. After struggling early in the season, the Cardinals’ bullpen is peaking at the right time. Six St. Louis relievers tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings on Sunday, with Jason Motte recording his second save of the postseason. Second baseman Daniel Descalso, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, had two hits in Game 1 and is batting .308 (8-for-26) in the postseason.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FOX

WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the low-60s under clear skies. Winds will blow out to right field at 9 mph.

PITCHING MATCHUP: Giants RH Ryan Vogelsong (0-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Chris Carpenter (1-0, 0.00)

Vogelsong earned a no-decision in his first career playoff start in Game 3 of the NLDS against Cincinnati, giving up one run on three hits over five innings. His 2.86 ERA in 15 regular-season home starts ranked 10th in the NL, and he finished the regular season with a 0.53 ERA over his final three starts. Beltran is 4-for-11 with a home run against Vogelsong, who threw seven scoreless innings and gave up three hits in a 15-0 win at Busch Stadium on Aug. 8.

Carpenter is set to make his fifth start of the season and the sixth NLCS start of his career after pitching 5 2/3 shutout innings in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Nationals. He’s 4-1 with a 3.57 ERA in eight career starts against the Giants, including 2-0 with a 4.26 ERA at AT&T Park. He’s one win shy of tying Greg Maddux and Curt Schilling for the fifth-most playoff victories in history (11). Hunter Pence is 5-for-27 with seven strikeouts against Carpenter, who missed the first 150 games of the season with a right shoulder injury.

TRENDS:
*Cardinals are 6-1 in Carpenter’s last seven starts vs. Giants.
* Cardinals are 5-0 in their last five games as an underdog.
* Giants are 1-4 in their last five playoff games as a favorite.
* Over is 7-0 in Giants last seven playoff home games.

UMP TRENDS-Chris Guccione
* Over is 4-0-1 in Guccione’s last five games behind home plate.
* Giants are 4-1 in their last five games with Guccione behind home plate.
* Over is 4-0 in Guccione’s last four Monday games behind home plate.
* Home team is 5-0 in Guccione’s last five games behind home plate vs. St. Louis.

WALK-OFFS:

1. Beltran’s .824 slugging percentage in 29 playoff games is the highest in baseball history.

2. Lincecum has thrown 8 1/3 relief innings in the postseason, allowing three hits, two walks and one earned run with nine strikeouts.

3. The Cardinals’ Yadier Molina has 57 postseason hits, tied for third all-time among catchers.

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