Giants vs. Cardinals: Players Who Need to Step Up for San Francisco in Game 5

Mark Goldberg@MZGoldbergCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2012

Giants vs. Cardinals: Players Who Need to Step Up for San Francisco in Game 5

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    After an 8-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals last night, the San Francisco Giants now find themselves in the hole 3-1 and on the brink of elimination. The beautiful and terrifying aspect of the MLB postseason is the quick turnarounds between games. Game 5 will be tonight, and if certain players for the Giants don't step up, the series will end in St. Louis.

    The Giants will try to win tonight and bring the series back to AT&T Park. If they can do that, then at least some of the pressure will shift to the Cardinals.

    Right now, St. Louis appears to have all of the momentum, but the old baseball cliche says that momentum can only carry you to the next day's starting pitching. The Giants will need that to hold true tonight.

    They'll also need to do more hitting than they've been doing.

    Here are the Giants that will need to step up tonight to force a Game 6.

Pablo Sandoval

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    If you look at Pablo Sandoval's numbers for the NLCS after last night, they're a bit deceiving. He hit a two-run shot in the top of the ninth to bring the Giants within five. If you take that at-bat out of the equation, he is 3-for-21 with one RBI.

    Even when adding the other two RBI, more is expected from Kung Fu Panda. He is the Giants' cleanup hitter, but aside from a monster Game 4 in the NLDS, he hasn't done much with the bat.

    Lance Lynn is starting for St. Louis tonight. He was the Game 1 starter as well. Lynn looked good against the front half of San Francisco's lineup, but Sandoval looked especially lost against the right-hander. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

    Sandoval will need to have better at-bats today if the Giants are to extend this series.

Barry Zito

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    Remember that old cliche I mentioned earlier? This is where it comes into play.

    In Barry Zito's last start, he looked shaky at best, only going 2.2 innings while giving up two runs, four walks and four hits.

    Despite that shaky start, Bruce Bochy is going to give Zito the nod in Game 5. He will, however, have a short leash. In an elimination game, anyone and everyone can be called from the bullpen, but if Zito can go five or six strong innings, the Giants will be in position to make this series a lot more interesting.

    The Giants had to go through five relievers last night. If Zito performs poorly and those guys have to come back out tonight, this series could be over.

Buster Posey

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    Luckily for Buster Posey, voters aren't supposed to look at the postseason during MVP consideration.

    After a solid NLDS for the newly-crowned Comeback Player of the Year, Posey has disappeared in the NLCS.

    He's 2-for-14 against the Cardinals with no RBI. Those numbers are all the more disappointing because he had five RBI in five games against the Reds in the NLDS.

    The Giants will need to see that kind of production again from the leader of their team. Not only would it mean offense, but Buster is the best bet to provide a spark for this club.

    If Buster can turn it on, it could create a chain reaction of hits and runs for the San Francisco Giants. That's what they'll need if they still want to be playing when they fly back to San Francisco tomorrow.