Giants vs. Cardinals: What to watch for

Season series: Giants won 4-3

PROJECTED LINEUP

GIANTS

– CF Gregor Blanco (.260, 5 HRs, 38 RBIs)

– 2B Joe Panik (.305, 1, 18)

– C Buster Posey (.311, 22, 89)

– 3B Pablo Sandoval (.279, 16, 73)

– RF Hunter Pence (.277, 20, 74)

– 1B Brandon Belt (.243, 12, 27)

– LF Michael Morse (.279, 16, 61)

– SS Brandon Crawford (.246, 10, 69)

CARDINALS

– 3B Matt Carpenter (.272, 8, 59)

– CF Jon Jay (.303, 3, 46)

– LF Matt Holliday (.272, 20, 90)

– 1B Matt Adams (.288, 15, 68)

– C Yadier Molina (.282, 7, 38)

– 2B Kolten Wong (.249, 12, 41, 20 SBs)

– RF Randal Grichuk (.245, 3, 8) or Oscar Taveras (.239, 3, 22)

PROJECTED ROTATION

GIANTS

– LH Madison Bumgarner (18-10, 2.98 ERA)

– RH Jake Peavy (7-13, 3.73)

– RH Tim Hudson (9-13, 3.57)

– RH Ryan Vogelsong (8-13, 4.00)

CARDINALS

– RH Adam Wainwright (20-9, 2.38)

– RH Lance Lynn (15-10, 2.74)

– RH John Lackey (14-10, 3.82)

– RH Shelby Miller (10-9, 3.74)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

– Time warp: Working on 10 days' rest, Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright threw up a dud in the NL Division Series opener when he was tagged for six runs and 11 hits in 4¹/³ innings at Dodger Stadium. He lost twice to the Giants during the season, including his shakiest outing of the year in May when he was rocked for seven runs in 4¹/³ innings.

– Leadoff loss: The Giants miss Angel Pagan's bat at the top of the lineup. He batted .304 from the leadoff spot this season, fifth-highest in the majors. Gregor Blanco has struggled in his place, going 2-for-22 in the playoffs and batting just .213 from the No. 1 spot in the regular season, the second-lowest mark in the big leagues.

– Power surge: After totaling a paltry 105 homers this season, second-fewest in the majors ahead of only Kansas City, the Cardinals finally flexed their muscles in the NL Division Series. They belted seven homers in four games. Matt Carpenter, who had eight homers in the regular season, joined Albert Pujols (2004) as the only Cardinals players to homer in three consecutive postseason games.

– Potent “Panda”: Pablo Sandoval has keyed San Francisco's postseason success during the past two trips, even after having his 14-game postseason hitting streak snapped in the clincher vs. the Washington Nationals. “Kung Fu Panda” is batting .368 with six homers and 14 RBIs in his last 18 postseason games.

– Late-night lightning: The Cardinals scored eight runs in the seventh inning to stun Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS opener and totaled one hit before their rally in the seventh during the Game 4 clincher. In the 2011 World Series, they were down to their last strike before beating Texas in Game 6, and in the 2012 playoffs they shocked Washington late before falling short against the Giants.

– Vogelstrong: Ryan Vogelsong started the Giants' clincher in the NL Division Series, allowing one run in 5 2-3 innings. That made him the only pitcher in major-league history to yield no more than one run in his first five postseason starts. Curt Schilling is the only pitcher to have a longer streak at any point in his career, going six straight postseason starts allowing one run or less from 1993-2001.

MLBSan Francisco Giants

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