There’s been a lot of ink spilled and keyboards stroked as baseball writers hearken back to the seventh games of baseball’s past. That’s all well and good. Looking to the past as a means of explaining the present would seldom be considered a misstep in my book.
However, I couldn’t possibly care less about baseball history right now. What I do care about is tonight, and tonight only. For it is tonight, that the winner of National League Championship Series deciding Game Seven between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Franciso Giants at AT&T Park will go on to face the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, while the loser’s season will simply cease to be. This is as sudden and definite as a baseball game gets.
You probably don’t need me to explain the tension, the range of emotions that not only the players, but also the fans are likely to feel tonight. One fan base is going to experience the much sought after ecstasy that makes the visceral experience of cheering for a sports team worthwhile. While the other fan base … Well, for the other fan base, my deepest condolences.
With the first pitch scheduled for 5:07 local time, here are a few pregame notes, as well as the lineups and pitching repertoires of tonight’s starters.
San Francisco Giants fans, your hashtag of choice tonight will be #RallyHorse.
St. Louis Cardinals fans, your hashtag of choice tonight will be #BlameMattHoliday.
Last night, Matt Holliday was a last minute scratch after experiencing severe stiffness in his back. The pain worsened as the game wore on, and it was expected that Matt Carpenter, who has experienced a measure of success against Matt Cain in the past, would fill in for Holliday once again. However, it appears that Holliday will attempt to make a go of it tonight.
Oh, and this:
Buster Posey spent extra time in cages earlier this afternoon and was making adjustments & hitting missiles expect big game from him tonight
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) October 22, 2012
There was some worry that tonight’s game might be interrupted by rain, but after a morning full of precipitation in the Bay Area, the clouds are moving away and things are clearing up. Here is the forecast for the hours that the baseball game will cover:
Here are the starting lineups:
St. Louis Cardinals
1. Jon Jay (L) CF
2. Carlos Beltran (S) RF
3. Matt Holliday (R) LF
4. Allen Craig (R) 1B
5. Yadier Molina (R) C
6. David Freese (R) 3B
7. Daniel Descalso (L) 2B
8. Pete Kozma (R) SS
9. Kyle Lohse (R) P
San Francisco Giants
1. Angel Pagan (S) CF
2. Marco Scutaro (R) 2B
3. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Hunter Pence (R) RF
6. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
7. Gregor Blanco (L) LF
8. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
9. Matt Cain (R) P
Here are the starting pitcher repertoires for the 2012 season:
RHP Matt Cain (via Brooks Baseball):
RHP Kyle Lohse (via Brooks Baseball):
It’s interesting that despite offering hitters a healthy diet of sinking fastballs, Kyle Lohse only has a 40% ground ball rate. He can get hit hard, and he can also lose control, as we saw in his Game Three start when he walked five players, but still managed to avoid punishment. Meanwhile, Cain’s repertoire should suit him well against the right-hand heavy lineup of the Cardinals, as it did in Game Three. However, let’s not forget that he allowed nine runs in two starts this season against St. Louis, without getting past the sixth inning in either outing.
Oh, and if you’re still a neutral observer for tonight’s game, might I suggest that you read this, and just try to cheer for the St. Louis Cardinals afterwards. I dare you.