Jim Bowden and Dan Szymborski are back to preview the San Francisco Giants-St. Louis Cardinals National League Championship Series. Bowden lays out which team has the edge among starting pitchers and in various facets of the game, and then adds his series prediction. Szymborski follows up with the most relevant stats leading into the series and the ZiPS game-by-game projections.
Who has the edge?
Home-field advantage: St. Louis (four games to three).
Managers: San Francisco's Bruce Bochy vs. St. Louis' Mike Matheny. Bochy, who already has won two championships and three NL pennants, is headed for the Hall of Fame once his managing years are over. He's a master at strategy, bullpen matchups and platooning. Mike Matheny is one of the best young managers in the game, joining Houston's Larry Dierker as the only two managers in NL history to reach the postseason in their first three seasons. Bochy gets the edge because of his longevity. Edge: Giants.
Game 1 starters: Madison Bumgarner vs. Adam Wainwright. Bumgarner is one of the best postseason starting pitchers of this decade, highlighted by his 2-0 record and 0.00 ERA in two World Series starts. He was dominant in the NL wild-card game this year, firing a four-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts and just one walk, on the road against the Pirates.