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Sunday, October 14, 2012
Giants, Cards matchup not over 'til its over

By ESPN Stats & Information

If there is one thing you can predict about the NLCS this year, it’s that no lead will be safe.

Both the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants staged epic comebacks to reach baseball’s final four:

•  Cardinals became the first team in major-league history to overcome a deficit of more than four runs in a winner-take-all game when they rallied from six runs down to beat the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS

•  Giants became the first team ever to erase a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-five series by winning the final three games on the road when they beat the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS

Lance Lynn Stats to Watch
Lynn is making his first start since September 30 when he gave up four runs over 5⅓ innings against the Nationals. He has made four relief appearances in the playoffs but hasn’t fared much better with three runs and four hits allowed in 3⅔ innings.

Lynn’s fastball averaged a career-high 96.1 MPH in his last outing in Game 4 of the NLDS but it wasn’t fast enough to get Jayson Werth out in the ninth inning. Werth homered on a 96-MPH heater to give the Nationals the walk-off win and force a decisive Game 5.

It was the first home run allowed by Lynn on a pitch of at least 95 MPH in his career. He had thrown 371 pitches of 95-plus MPH in his career before the pitch that Werth hit, and opponents had managed just 11 hits in 106 at-bats (.104) ending in a pitch that fast against Lynn.

The Giants have a .777 OPS against pitches of at least 95 MPH this season, well above the major-league average of .681. Among the Giants’ regulars, Pablo Sandoval (1.150 OPS) and Brandon Belt (1.145 OPS) have the best chance to tag Lynn’s high heat in Game 1.

Madison Bumgarner Stats to Watch
The Cardinals faced Bumgarner twice this season and beat him both times. St. Louis was 31-17 in the regular season when the opponent started a left-handed pitcher, compared with 57-57 against right-handed starters.

In his two starts against the Cardinals this year, Bumgarner struck out 10 and allowed 10 hits over 13⅓ innings. However, he allowed seven runs, all earned, as five of the 10 hits he allowed went for extra bases.

Bumgarner’s fastball was effective in those two starts against the Cardinals, netting him 18 outs and just one hit allowed in at-bats ending in the pitch. However, the Cardinals crushed his offspeed offerings, going 9-for-29 with five extra-base hits.

Stat of the Game
This is the first time in major-league history the previous two World Series champions are playing each other for the right to go the World Series, according the Elias Sports Bureau.