San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals: Bold Predictions for NLCS

James Maahs@Jmaz90Contributor IIIOctober 16, 2012

San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals: Bold Predictions for NLCS

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    The NLCS between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals has been anything but dull this postseason.

    Both teams have proven their ability to come through in clutch games and come back when the game looks to be over. They both have amazing resiliency and have proven to be strong contenders for a World Series championship.

    With the series tied at 1-1, both teams will be taking it game by game as they head to St. Louis for the next three.

    In a battle like this, there's only one question to ask: What team is hungrier to win?

    These are five bold predictions for the next three games in the NLCS.

The Giants Will Win at Least Two Games on the Road

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    As the NLCS heads to St. Louis for the next three games, the Cardinals will look to gain the momentum via their home crowd.

    But you can't count out the Giants on the road in the playoffs.

    The Giants were able to escape an 0-2 hole in their series against the Cincinnati Reds to win the series 3-2, taking all three roads games. As of right now, the Giants are 1-3 at home while a perfect 3-0 on the road.

    The Cardinals have played well at home all season long, and they will look to stop the Giants in their tracks at Busch Stadium.

Tim Lincecum Will Dominate in Game 4

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    Starting pitching will be key for both the Cardinals and Giants heading into the next three games. The Giants' Tim Lincecum will thrive under the pressure and dominate in Game 4 (assuming he gets the start).

    Lincecum has had a quiet season this year with the Giants—compiling a 5.18 ERA and a 10-15 record, well below the standards that he is expected to reach.

    But Lincecum had a strong start against the Reds in the NLDS and looked to be in complete control of his pitching.

    Make no mistake, if the Giants want to take at least two of three in St. Louis, Lincecum and Matt Cain have to be at the top of their games. Bad pitching and the Giants could be looking at a potential meltdown.

Kyle Lohse Will Dominate in Game 3

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    Just like Tim Lincecum in Game 4, the Cardinals' Kyle Lohse will dominate in Game 3 of the series.

    Lohse could be considered one of the more elite pitchers in the MLB: He had a 2.86 ERA and a 16-3 record for the season, which helped the Cardinals reach the wild card.

    He is also another pitcher that thrives under pressure, and their will surely be enough on the Cardinals to win their first game of the series at home.

Retaliation Will Be Taken for the Marco Scutaro Injury

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    Game 2 brought the Giants an injury that could send Marco Scutaro out of the playoffs.

    The Cardinals' Matt Holliday slid hard into second base and took out the legs of Scutaro. The play left Scutaro on the ground for a while and staggering when he finally got to his feet.

    Holliday apologized for what happened in the first inning (via ESPN):

    In hindsight, I wish I'd started my slide a step earlier. But it's happening fast. And you're trying to get to his lower half so he can't turn the double play. I wish I didn't land on top of him. I hope he's OK. I mean, I know him. He's a good guy. I wasn't obviously trying to do anything more than keep us out of the double play.

    Being the postseason, there is a possibility that retaliation might occur in the next game of the series. Of course, that all depends on whether or not the Cardinals are down significantly to the Giants in Game 3.

    Only time and another close play at second base will tell.

Game 5 Will Be Series Clincher for Giants

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    Yes, the Giants will take at least two of three on the road against the Cardinals, but what if they just swept them in St. Louis?

    It certainly is a major possibility—who would have believed that the Giants would sweep the Central Division champion Reds in their own house?

    It will take a lot of focus and elite play from the rotation and bullpen, but the Giants can win all three games on the road yet again.

    Of course, the Cardinals have shown that they can fight back from almost any deficit, so the task at hand could be nearly impossible for the Giants.

    But that is why it's a bold prediction, and the Giants may end this series come Game 5.

    Follow James Maahs on Twitter for all the latest on the NHL and MLB.

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