Major League Baseball

2012 NLCS Predictions and Preview – Inside The Wheelhouse

st. louis cardinalsThe 2012 Major League Baseball season is down to four remaining teams, two from each of the American and National leagues. The National League Championship Series could not have been written any better as the last two World Series Champions will battle it out for their 2nd trip in the last three seasons. These two teams surprised many people the seasons they won not only National League Championship but the World Series as well and now at least one former recent Champion will look to regain their crown this October.

Can the St. Louis head back to the World Series once again as a Wild Card team to defend their World Series Championship? Will this San Francisco Giants team continue this remarkable run after being down 2-0 to Cincinnati only to win the last three and advance to their 2nd NLCS in the last 3 seasons? With that being said let’s take a look at the 2012 National League Championship Series:

St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants

I have been fortunate enough to cover the MLB Postseason for the Camel Clutch Blog since the 2009 season. During my tenure I have had the pleasure of not only covering but watching both playoff runs from the San Francisco Giants in 2010 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. Both of those teams were so similar in the fact that they had a “chip on their shoulder” because no one believed they would make it as far as they did, had the pitching to carry them throughout the Postseason and had a ton of momentum that helped them win a World Series. Now these two great historic franchises will battle it out in a 7-game series for the right to play in the World Series yet again.

San Francisco once again enters this NLCS as an unlikely team this October. The NL West looked as if it was handed to the Los Angeles Dodgers in August after their blockbuster deal with the Boston Red Sox but instead of conceding the division to LA the Giants actually got better. Then they had to deal with the PED suspension of Melky Cabrera, one of their offensive and defensive leaders but still pulled through. This is a team very similar to their 2010 World Series Championship squad as they have great pitching and Buster Posey is putting this team on his shoulders.

The St. Louis Cardinals have once again entered the Postseason after winning the Wild Card and dealing with elimination games in the Postseason. This is a team you can NEVER count out and I think that’s what makes them very dangerous this Postseason, yet again. They were down to their final strike on two separate occasions against the Washington Nationals in the NLDS and were able to score 4 runs to take the lead from the Nats after being down 6-0! It’s amazing how similar these two teams truly are and that’s what will equal quite the matchup in the NLCS.

I’ve covered some great matchups since 2009 for the CCB but I never remember a series that I have had such a tough time predicting and deciding. As I went through both of these teams and comparing them I saw a lot of similarities in their lineup, so I couldn’t go there for an edge. Then I went through both of these teams pitching rotation and bullpen, once again very close & very similar. Finally I came down to two deciding factors that I believe give one team the slight edge over the other team.

San Francisco is the slight favorite in this series for two reasons: their manager and the current run of momentum they are on. The Giants have a veteran manager in Bruce Bochy, one who has won a World Series in 2010. The Cardinals have a rookie manager in Mike Matheny who I believe has the huge potential of one day being a World Series Championship manager. While the Nationals manager Davey Johnson won a World Series at one time as well, that was in 1986, 26 years ago, Bochy won it two years ago and that gives him the slight edge over Matheny when it comes to the manager position due to knowing how the game is played today.

Secondly the Giants, I believe, have more momentum then the Cardinals as of right now. But how can that be, the Cardinals just came back to score 4 runs in the 9th and cut down a 6-0 deficit to advance to the NLCS? While that is true the Cardinals didn’t come back from 2-0 to win their series while the San Francisco Giants did against a very good Cincinnati Reds team. Giants have the momentum heading into the NLCS and should it continue on, they should walk out of the NLCS into the 2012 World Series.

Prediction: Giants win series 4-3

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Jeff Peck

You can follow Jeff on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheJeffPeck

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