5 Reasons St. Louis Cardinals Are the SF Giants' Easiest 1st-Round Matchup

hh bjjjnCorrespondent IISeptember 18, 2012

5 Reasons St. Louis Cardinals Are the SF Giants' Easiest 1st-Round Matchup

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    Once the playoffs start, there is no easy road to the World Series. 

    Each team is the best of the best and ready to play. Essentially, there is no "easiest" team to play. 

    For the San Francisco Giants, with the current standings, the St. Louis Cardinals are the team's easiest round one playoff match-up. 

    Yes, the defending champions are the easiest round one match-up. 

1. Head to Head

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    The Giants and Cardinals were 3-3 against each other in 2012. 

    Nothing to be too excited about right? 

    Well the Giants outscored the Cardinals, 30-22. This is exciting. 

    Though it's not a blowout, the Giants have shown they can score against St. Louis, while shutting down their high-powered offense. Only 3.7 runs per game is nothing special for an offense that can easily rack up runs. 

2. Chris Carpenter

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    Chris Carpenter is expected to make his season debut on Friday. 

    This is perfect timing for Carpenter to join the Cardinals. Good news, is no news until results are seen and Carpenter must prove he can be himself. 

    Carpenter has missed the entire season after having surgery in July for thoracic outlet syndrome. This rare condition seems to be a nagging injury. 

    The neck and shoulder are never areas that pain is okay and Carpenter has a big obstacle to overcome, to be himself in the playoffs. 

3. Inconsistency

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    The Cardinals have been terribly inconsistent this season. 

    The Cardinals' roller coaster season is not something to be impressed by. Including September, The Cardinals have had three months with a winning record and three months with a losing record.  

    The Giants have been much more consistent. 

    The Giants have had a winning record in every moth, with an even moth in July. 

    Teams must be consistent in the playoffs and the Giants clearly have the edge here. 

4. Cardinals' Poor Road Record

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    Welcome to AT&T Park St. Louis. 

    San Francisco will be the home team in the first-round if the Giants and Cardinals meet. Good luck. 

    The Cardinals have been nothing special on the road this season. The team has gone 34-41 up to date. 

    With some of the best fans in all of baseball, the Giants have gone 41-31 in San Francisco. The Cardinals would have a tough time in San Francisco.

5. Managerial Experience

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    Mike Matheny has done a superb job in his first season as a manager. 

    He is not Bruce Bochy yet. Experience is huge in the playoffs.

    Bochy has won a World Series and has been great this season.

    Bochy has overcame the Melky Cabrera suspension, the loss of Brian Wilson, the struggles of Tim Lincecum and the struggles of Pablo Sandoval. Not bad at all.

    Managerial experience in the playoffs is a big key to success and Bochy wins this battle with Matheny.