San Francisco Giants v St. Louis Cardinals
While both the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants swung the bat well in game one of their National League Championship Series clash, expect game two in San Francisco to be dominated by the pitchers on Monday. The Giants go with Ryan Vogelsong, who was fantastic in his first play-off game against the Cincinnati Reds, allowing just three hits and one run (along with three walks) in five innings. Throughout the season, Vogelsong was much stronger at home (2.86 ERA) than on the road (3.87 ERA). While Vogelsong was shaky overall in the last two months of the season, posting a 6.32 ERA in August and a 5.34 ERA in September/October, he did turn the corner right at the end. In addition to his sterling play-off game, the right-hander gave up just one earned run in his final seventeen innings of the regular season.
His biggest problem in this game will be facing a pitcher in equally impressive form, Chris Carpenter. Though Carpenter missed most of the season with a shoulder injury, he has been strong since returning right at the end of the regular season. In his one play-off start against the Washington Nationals, he threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings. This was no aberration as he delivered back-to-back quality starts (six inning-plus of work and three or fewer earned runs allowed) to end the season. In his only other start of 2012, he pitched well, giving up two runs in five innings. The bottom line is that each of these pitchers should bring his A game. As a result, wagering on under 7.0 runs at 1.71 is the way to go rather than the over at 2.14.