In the 1987, the St. Louis Cardinals faced the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series, and in seven games, they emerged victorious. This is surely a treasured memory for Cardinals fans who remember it, particularly given how the other three postseason series featuring the Cardinals and Giants have gone.
In 2002, 2012, and 2014, things went poorly for the Cardinals in the NLCS. In two of the sets, the Cardinals lost on a walk-off hit in Game 5 in San Francisco. In the other, the Cardinals blew a 3-1 series lead, a story retold yesterday by Alex Crisafulli, aided by a couple of terrible AT&T Park meltdowns and also getting shut down at Busch Stadium by The Ghost Of Barry Zito.
The Giants have tortured my soul and souls of many other Cardinals fans this century, but there have been occasional moments of happiness in the postseason from the Cardinals against the Giants, and this is a look at those moments. Because I’m in a good mood. Also, I’m tired and don’t feel like writing that much, so there are some video clips too. These are the five greatest plays by Win Probability Added for the Cardinals against the Giants in postseason history. This is not the same as Championship Probability Added, or the makeshift version of it I concocted for the Dodgers preview last week–this is simply improving the odds of victory in that given game.
5. In a game which the Cardinals eventually lost, Game 3 of the 2014 NLCS, outfielder Randal Grichuk, whose presence in the lineup was oft-criticized at the time, came to the plate against Giants starter Tim Hudson in the top of the seventh with the Cardinals trailing 4-3. But on the first pitch he saw, Grichuk belted a solo home run down the left field line to equalize the game. This increased the Cardinals’ odds of winning the game by 22%.
4. In this particular game, the Cardinals did win. In 2012, Matt Carpenter was a utility player, but he came through huge in Game 3 of the NLCS, in which his two-run shot took the Cardinals from a one-run deficit to a one-run lead. Not bad for somebody who didn’t even start the game, entering as a replacement for Carlos Beltran after the first inning. It gave the Cardinals a 23% WPA bump.
3. Now, we get to talk about one of the great games in Cardinals postseason history. In the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 2 of the 2014 NLCS, with the Cardinals trailing 3-2, pinch-hitter Oscar Taveras took Giants reliever Jean Machi deep. It was a high, towering, and frankly majestic shot into right field. It would be the final hit of his career. The odds of a Cardinals victory jumped 25%.
2. The next inning, with the score still tied at three from Taveras’s heroics, Cardinals bat-flip extraordinare Matt Adams joined the party, taking the lead with a home run and shoving his bat to the ground with the force of a thousand suns. This moment gave the Cardinals a 31% better chance of equalizing the series.
- In the top of the ninth inning of the twice aforementioned game, Trevor Rosenthal blew the save. And then the moment you probably knew would be #1 happened. The Cardinals were 63% favorites when Kolten Wong came to the plate against Sergio Romo. One swing later, they were at 100%.
As for this weekend’s series, here are the projected starting pitchers, with game times listed in Central time.
Today (7:15 pm)–Madison Bumgarner (6-6, 3.14 ERA) vs. John Gant (7-6, 3.53 ERA)
Saturday (12:05 pm)–Dereck Rodriguez (6-4, 2.30 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (2-3, 3.72 ERA)
Sunday (1:15 pm)–Andrew Suarez (7-11, 4.24 ERA) vs. Miles Mikolas (16-4, 3.01 ERA)