San Francisco Giants
St. Louis Cardinals
National League Championship Series
8:07 p.m. EST
That Tim Lincecum would be taking the mound for a pivotal playoff game for the San Francisco Giants wouldn't have seemed a strange thing at all before the 2012 season began. Based on Lincecum's in-season struggles (10-15 with a 5.18 ERA), however, Giants manager Bruce Bochy is taking a leap of faith by giving him the ball.
Already trailing 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, the Giants are counting on the player who had a 1.42 ERA over 6.1 innings of relief work in the NLDS as opposed to one who struggled so mightily during the 2012 campaign that he wasn't initially given a spot in the playoff rotation.
"He's a guy we want out there. He's been throwing the ball well," Bochy told The Associated Press before Game 4. "We've got to bounce back."
Even at his best, the two-time NL Cy Young winner would have his work cut out for him against this Cardinals lineup. Through nine postseason games, St. Louis is averaging more than five runs per game and has topped six runs on five occasions. Of course, the majority of that production has come with Carlos Beltran at the heart of the batting order. After suffering a knee strain early in Game 3, Beltran is not in the lineup for Game 4.
Can the Cardinals stay hot without Beltran? Will Lincecum continue his resurgence?
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To bring some local flavor to our Game 4 live blog, HuffPost Sports has invited our Infographic Design Editor Chris Spurlock, who was born and raised about 30 miles west of St. Louis, to chime in on behalf of Cardinals fans and Chris Anderson, a Senior Editor at HuffPost, to represent Giants fans.