Tune in at 7:37 PM ET as the Cardinals take on the Giants in Game Six of the NLCS. Ian Hunter will be liveblogging for your enjoyment.
Good evening, everyone! It's time for Sunday night postseason baseball in the Bay - so glad you could join us here for Game 6 of the NLCS. Here are your starting lineups:
St. Louis Cardinals
SP: Chris Carpenter
San Francisco Giants
SP: Ryan Vogelsong
Well, here we are folks - Game 6 of the NLCS. The series shifts to the Bay after the Giants won Game 5 handily in St. Louis as Barry Zito and the Giants staff shutout the cards 5-0.
The Cardinals are looking to clinch their second straight appearance in the World Series, while the Giants would love nothing more to push this series to a 7th and deciding game tomorrow night.
All-time in Game 6's, the San Francisco Giants own a 4-8 record and a 2-3 record at home. The Cardinals however are 6-6 all time in Game 6's in the postseason. San Fran is also 9-17 in elimination games, and 4 of those 9 wins have come in the 2012 postseason alone.
Another interesting fact about the Giants - they are 4-1 this postseason when they score 4 or more runs. So the key for the Cardinals will obviously be for Chris Carpenter and the pitching staff to try to limit the damage of the Giants bats.
The man going to the hill tonight for the Cardinals is Chris Carpenter. If ever there was a man the Cards wanted on the hill, he is it. Carpenter is 10-2 in 16 career postseason starts all-time.
However, Big Carp looked a little shaky in Game 2 as he gave up 2 earned runs and only made it through 4 innings against the Giants. Lifetime against the Giants, Carpenter owns a 4-1 record with a 3.57 ERA in 8 career starts.
Going to the hill for the Giants this evening will be Ryan Vogelsong. He was a revelation in Game 2 against Chris Carpenter, allowing just 1 earned run through 7 innings. Incredibly, he was the very first Giants starter to make it past 6 during the 2012 playoffs. During the regular season, Vogelson went 6 or more innings in his first 21 outings.
Vogelsong's splits however don't look very good lifetime against the Cardinals - lifetime in 16 starts, he's 2-4 with a 6.51 ERA. However, Ryan Vogelsong appears to be much more comfortable pitching within the confines of AT & T Park than on the road. His home ERA is a full run lower at home (2.86) than on the road (3.87).
Lineup notes: There was a late-breaking development with the Cardinals, as Matt Holliday was a late scratch due to back tightness. I'm not even sure that the Cards will miss him all that much, as Holliday was hitting .190 in the NLCS and .190 in the postseason overall.
So Allen Craig will man left field and it will be Matt Carpenter inserted into Mike Metheny's lineup card, playing first base this evening. Carpenter has seen limited action at the plate, but of course he had that clutch home run which was the eventual game-winner in Game 3 of the NLCS.
@ljk Late scratch due to back tightness - so Carpenter is in the lineup instead, Allen Craig goes to LF.
No changes from Bruce Bochy to his starting nine for Game 6 - he will use the exact same lineup as he did for Game 5 in St. Louis.
We're set to get underway in just a few moments over at AT & T Park in San Fran. Just a quick reminder to try to keep the comments game-related - I'll try to get to as many of them as possible. Also, please no ill will towards other commenters ... just remember that we're all baseball fans here.
Just heard Bruce Bochy say during his pre-game interview that Tim Linecum and Madison Bumgarner would both be available out of the bullpen if needed here in Game 6.
@mgodfrey And now that the series is at home for the final two games, they'll be very comfortable in San Fran - the ball is in their court here.
It's a battle between two right-handers tonight: both Chris Carpenter and Ryan Vogelsong are both righties.
If this series were to go to a 7th game, it would be tomorrow night in San Fran at 8pm EST. Matt Cain would go to the hill for the Giants, not sure who it would be for the Cardinals.
As noted earlier, Matt Holliday is not in the starting lineup for the Cardinals since he's out with back spasms, but he could possibly be a late-game pinch hitter for Mike Metheny decides he is well enough to pinch hit.
Another interesting fact about the Giants - they are a perfect 4-0 when facing elimination this postseason.
Sounds like Vogelsong has finished taking his warmup tosses in the Giants bullpen, so it's just the anthems and we'll be good to go here in Game 6.
It seems like the Cardinals have been banging up in this series - Matt Holliday misses tonight's game, and Carlos Beltran misses some time as well. But Matt Carpenter, who will get the call tonight, was the hero in Game 3 of the NLCS.
Whoever wins this series will obviously face the Detroit Tigers in the World Series beginning on Wednesday. The Tigers will have a long layoff, as they've been awaiting the winner of the NLCS since Wednesday.
Apparently James Hetfield of Metallica fame is in attendance tonight at AT & T Park, and just introduced the game to a rowdy "Let's Play Ball!".
I'm not sure what it is with music stars who introduce the game/throw out the first pitch. MC Hammer threw out the first pitch in Game 5 of the ALDS.
So here we go in San Fran - it will be Jon Jay, Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran all coming up for the Cards in the top of the 1st.
Jon Jay leads off for the Cards, and he played in all 18 of St. Louis postseason games during their World Series run last season.
Vogelsong starts off Jay with a 2-0 count, but then comes in with a fastball over the heart of the plate. Makes it 2-1 now.
And after getting way behind in the count, Ryan Vogelsong battles all the way back and strikes out Jon Jay to lead off the game.
Here's the impromptu appearance by Matt Carpenter, manning first base this evening for St. Louis.
Carpenter has 5 pinch hit at bats during the 2012 playoffs this season, and this is his first taste of October baseball in his career. Now even at a 2-2 count.