Free MLB Picks for Cardinals vs. Giants NLCS Game 3

Joe Gavazzi

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 5:13 PM GMT

Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 5:13 PM GMT

In a matchup of veteran starters, our MLB picks are aided by current form, history, as well as intangible factors that are detailed in my analysis of this Game 3 winner.

The 3rd game of this NLCS championship round takes place in the Bay Area after these two teams split a pair of decisions in St. Louis over the weekend.  Forewarned is forearmed!  The Cards well remember their most recent playoff visit to San Francisco.  Playing for the right to participate in the World Series, the Cards came to San Francisco with a 3-2 lead in their 7 game series.  The Giants won both games and used that momentum to win the 2012 World Series.  Tonight, St. Louis may be asked to face this respected opponent without All Star catcher, Molina, who is questionable with a strained oblique. 

San Francisco is playing on a home field, where they may have less confidence than one would expect.  In early June, the Giants bolted from the gate on their home field with a record of 22-9. Since that time, the San Francisco home field record is 23-36, including a 1-1 split with Washington in their first playoff series. 

 

Lackey vs. Hudson
As always, the pitching matchup will be a major component in tonight’s outcome.  For all of his major league experience, this will be the first start for San Francisco pitcher, Hudson in a LCS series in his 16-year MLB career.  Hudson was a victim of poor run support this season, posting a 9-13 record, despite a respectable 3.57 ERA.  Hudson faded down the stretch in September.  The Giants lost his last 5 starts, where in 21 2/3 IP, he allowed 23 runs on 35 hits.  He did, however, pitch a return to form game lasting 7 1/3 IP, allowing just 1 run on 7 hits in a 2-1 victory vs. Washington.  It’s a major question mark, however, as to how he performs today.  As in 13 starts vs. St. Louis, Hudson has posted a 5.26 ERA.

Far prefer the current form and history of Lackey.  In his 3 most previous starts, Lackey has allowed just 4 runs and 16 hits in 21 1/3 IP.  That includes a 7 inning stint in a 3-1 win over the Dodgers, in which he allowed a single run and 5 hits. In a pair of appearances against the Giants, Lackey has worked 14 IP with a 2.57 ERA. 

When making your MLB picks consider that the factors working in our favor in this game 3 are the better current form and history of Lackey, along with the Giants’ knowledge that they faded badly on this field in the last 2/3 of the season. 

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