NLCS: 3 Keys For The Giants To Win Game 7 And Advance To World Series


Oct 21, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Fans wave towels during the first inning of game six of the 2012 NLCS between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals at AT

There are no two words better than Game Seven. And a Game Seven is just what the baseball world will have in store tonight with a matchup featuring two teams that are well-known for their comeback tactics, the St.Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants.

The Giants have won two in a row, and are riding high off start pitching and big innings. However, Kyle Lohse, tonight’s starter for St.Louis, held them in check less then a week ago.

Here are some keys for the Giants to punch their ticket to the World Series:

Capitalize on Scoring Opportunities

Kyle Lohse maneuvered his way out of trouble on multiple occasions in Game 3. The end results speak for themselves, as the Giants stranded 11 runners, and posted an 0-for-7 mark with runners in scoring position (RISP). Just think of how many runs they could’ve score had they scratched up just a couple of hits. Obviously no team is perfect with runners on base, but the Giants were a far cry away from mediocre, which won’t do them well tonight.

Lohse wasn’t all that effect, either. The box score shows that he only surrendered one run, but dive deeper and you will find that he walked five batters and gave up seven hits, not a particularly sparkly line. Again, due to the Giants lack of urgency, he escaped most of the messes he made unscathed. To think that he will follow a similar line tonight is a bold prediction. Lohse’s highest walk total in a single game during the regular season was four, and that was just a one time occurrence.

Runs should be at a premium tonight with each team’s respective ace pitching, which means that the Giants will be seeking to reverse the outcome against Lohse this time around.

First Pitch Is The Best Pitch To Hit 

Lohse doesn’t fit the bill of a flamethrower who possess an electric fastball or cutter. He simply uses solid command and good pitch locations to seduce his opposition a lot like Ryan Vogelsong. However, instead of the basic fastball being his main pitch, he falls back on his sinker.

The type of pitch certainly has value, but when you oppose Lohse, who threw 49 sinkers compared to just a pair of fastballs in Game 3, it’s about predicting the location. While Lohse totaled five walks in Game 3, one was an intentional walk to Buster Posey, and the reason for that lofty total is due to the fact that he was nibbling the corners, hoping that the Giants would bite. They didn’t.

Lohse did, however, pound the strike zone on the first pitch of each at-bat. Sinkers are not the best pitches to hit, but if he hangs one for a home run, he loses all credibility for throwing it, and proceeds reluctantly with that specific pitch.

Brandon Belt facing Lohse is a particular match up that should favor San Francisco, as Belt has made a noticeable effort to swing earlier in the count as opposed to waiting around. Of course Lohse could counter with a varied approach to force Belt to revert to his old approach, but that’s where adjustments play a role.

At this point, most starting pitchers boast impeccable command. Realistically, most starters wouldn’t be in this situation of they didn’t have that trait. Lohse, to no amazement, isn’t any different. In some cases, waiting a pitcher out prevails, but with Lohse, the first pitch generally tells the story for rest of the at-bat.

Contain The Unknowns

This isn’t a knock on Jon Jay, Pete Kozma, or Daniel Descalso, but none of those guys boast reputations of the likes of Matt Holliday or Carlos Beltran. With that said, this is a one game do or die. All regular season stats are thrown out the window, because frankly, anyone could be the hero. Which means that the unknown must be kept intact. Kozma has already relished in the hero role in the first round against Washington, so it just goes to show that everyone is capable of sending a message.