Breaking down the best-of-seven National League Championship Series between St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants:

Schedule: (All times PDT)

Game 1, Sunday, at San Francisco (5:15 p.m.)

Game 2, Monday, at San Francisco (5:07 p.m.)

Game 3, Wednesday, at St. Louis (1:07 p.m.)

Game 4, Thursday, at St. Louis (5:07 p.m.)

x-Game 5, Friday, at St. Louis (5:07 p.m.)

x-Game 6, Sunday, at San Francisco (1:45 p.m.)

x-Game 7, Monday, at San Francisco (5:07 p.m.)

x-if necessary.

Projected Lineups (regular season statistics):

St. Louis Cardinals

CF Jon Jay (.305, 4 HRs, 40 RBIs, 18 SBs, .373 OBP)

RF Carlos Beltran (.269, 32, 97)

LF Matt Holliday (.295, 27, 102)

1B Allen Craig (.307, 22, 92)

C Yadier Molina (.315, 22, 76)

3B David Freese (.293, 20, 79)

2B Daniel Descalso (.227, 4, 26)

SS Pete Kozma (.333, 2, 14).

San Francisco Giants:

CF Angel Pagan (.288, 8, 56, 29 SBs, 15 3Bs)

2B Marco Scutaro (.306, 7, 74 for Giants and Rockies)

3B Pablo Sandoval (.283, 12, 63)

C Buster Posey (.336, 24, 103, 39 2Bs)

RF Hunter Pence (.253, 24, 104 for Giants and Phillies)

1B Brandon Belt (.275, 7, 56)

LF Gregor Blanco (.244, 5, 34, 26 SBs) or Xavier Nady (.184, 4, 13 for Giants and Nationals)

SS Brandon Crawford (.248, 4, 45).

Starting Pitchers (in projected rotation order):

St. Louis Cardinals:

RHP Lance Lynn (18-7, 3.78 ERA)

RHP Chris Carpenter (0-2, 3.71 in 3 starts after shoulder surgery)

RHP Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86)

RHP Adam Wainwright (14-13, 3.94).

San Francisco Giants:

LHP Madison Bumgarner (16-11, 3.37, 191 Ks)

RHP Ryan Vogelsong (14-9, 3.37 in 31 starts)

RHP Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79, 193 Ks, 219 1-3 IP, first perfect game in franchise history June 13 vs. Astros)

RHP Tim Lincecum (10-15, 5.18, 186 IP, 190 Ks, matched career high with 17 wild pitches) or LHP Barry Zito (15-8, 4.15, 184 1-3 IP; won final 5 starts and 7 straight decisions).

Season Nuggets:

This is a showdown between the past two World Series champions, for the right to play for this year’s title

The season series was deadlocked at 3 wins apiece

The Under has cashed in 6 of the last 8 meetings in San Francisco

The road team has covered five of the last eight meetings, dating back to 2011

St. Louis Nuggets:

The Cardinals rallied for four runs in the ninth inning to beat Washington 9-7 in the deciding Game 5 of the NLDS.

Carlos Beltran had three hits and was on base five times in the crucial win for the Cardinals.

The defending World Series champs won two games less than they did last season.

The Redbirds still won 12 of their final 16 games, then beat Atlanta in the first-ever one-game wild card contest.

St. Louis is in the NLCS for the seventh time since the start of the 2000 season

Ace hurler Chris Carpenter is 10-2 lifetime in the postseason and has won five straight decisions.

NL MVP candidate Yadier Molina had a career season anf finished fourth in the league in hitting

The Cardinals have become road warriors of late, having won seven of their last nine with a suitcase in hand.

San Francisco Nuggets:

The NL West champs overcame a 2-0 deficit by winning the final three games of the NLDS on the road to rally past Cincinnati.

Amazingly, Cincinnati outscored the Giants 22-18 in the series, outhit them .261-.194 and recorded a 3.13 ERA, compared to Frisco’s 4.11.

San Francisco is the first team since the 1987 Cardinals to make playoffs with fewest home runs in the majors, with just 103.

Game 1 starter Madison Bumgarner gave up seven runs over 13-1/3 innings in his two matchups with the defending World Series champs this past regular season.

The Giants hit just 31 homers during the regular season at AT&T Park

Two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum looked good as a reliever in the NLDS, allowing one run, three hits and no walks in 6-1/3 innings, and getting the win in Game 4.

Lincecum might move back into the rotation for this series, as Barry Zito lasted just 2-2/3 innings in his one start.

National League MVP candidate Buster Posey, hit only .211 in the NLDS, but was the leading hitter on the senior circuit at .336 with 24 home runs and 103 RBI during the regular season.

The Giants are on an 8-3 run in the playoffs.


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