The 2012 NLCS is tied at one game a piece. The Cardinals are looking to go on another miraculous run to the World Series and repeat their championship season, while the Giants look to continue their strong play and dominate the Cardinals.
Any series that's tied is a fight, and both teams need their stars to shine through to get their team the advantage.
In the case of the Giants, Matt Cain has played lights-out baseball in 2012 and needs to continue his dominant pitching to give the Giants an offensive advantage.
Cain, throwing a perfect game on June 13, is living up to his five-year contract extension he signed with the Giants In April.
In the Giants home opener this season, Cain threw a complete-game shutout, facing 28 batters through 9 innings.
It's a sure thing that Cain is the Giant ace that they need in order to be successful, and the NLCS is no different, especially since the series looks to be a fight all the way to the end.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, need to combat Cain's stellar pitching, and that's where Carlos Beltran comes in.
Beltran, signing a two-year deal with St. Louis in the offseason, has had solid hitting in 2012 and even recorded a few MLB records.
June 15 saw Beltran become the first switch-hitter in league history to attain 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases and also recorded his 400th double on June 30th.
Overall, Beltran posted 32 home runs and 97 RBI's in 2012, which has translated well into the postseason.
In the NLDS, Beltran had 18 at-bats in five games where he hit two home runs and had four RBI. If Beltran can continue his solid play, the Cardinals have a chance at defeating the Giants to continue to the World Series.
Beltran needs some help, however, and that's Matt Holliday's chance to back him up.
Holliday has been a great major leaguer since his 2004 debut with the Rockies, and he's played exceptionally for the Cardinals as well.
In 2012, Holliday had 599 at-bats in 157 games. Among those at-bats, Holliday tallied 27 home runs with 102 RBI.
His hitting has been solid, and like Beltran, needs to continue this type of play against the Giants rotation in order to score runs and silence the first-place NL West contenders.
For the Giants, hitting is just as important, and with Buster Posey on the roster, they have a go-to guy.
Posey, still very young in his career, won the batting title in 2012 with a .336 batting average on the season.
Hitting 24 home runs and 103 RBI, Posey's responsibility is to come up big against the Cardinals just as he did in the Division Series against the Reds, where he knocked a grand slam on October 11 to help the Giants take the series.
Posey's exceptional hitting can help San Francisco write history and go onto the World Series and possibly win it for the second time in three years.
However, the Cardinals won't be easy, and it's a strong possibility the NLCS can go seven games as both teams have been playing good ball in 2012.
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