The St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants are chock-full of playoff experience, and through two National League Championship Series contests, these squads are even. Speaking of experience, starters John Lackey and Tim Hudson—at a combined age of 74—are set to take the mound in Game 3.

Expect this roller-coaster ride to continue.

It doesn’t take an expert to quickly analyze these teams and determine that they are very evenly matched. Both have firepower at the plate, solid rotations and viable bullpens. So, what will propel one of these franchises to victory on Tuesday? Before that answer is predicted, here’s a look at all of the game’s pertinent viewing information.


Viewing Information

Series: Tied 1-1

Where: AT&T Park in San Francisco, California

When: Tuesday, October 14

Time: 4 p.m. ET

Channel: Fox Sports 1

Live Stream: MLB.TV (subscription required)


Preview and Prediction

We’ve already learned that whatever happened in the regular season isn’t exactly translating to October in 2014. After all, the Cardinals—ranked 29th in the league in home runs prior to the playoffs—have sent a postseason-high 11 balls out of the park.

This same theory can be applied to both Hudson and Lackey in Game 3. All “old jokes” aside, these two have defied their respective ages in October, as Hudson pitched 7.1 innings, allowing one run for a 1.23 ERA in one start, and Lackey lasted 7.0 innings, allowing one run for a 1.29 ERA.

We could have seen this coming for Lackey, as MLB Stat of the Day notes the pitcher’s career postseason ERA:

All right, so they each pitched one postseason game and fared well. How have they done against their upcoming opponents? That’s another area in which these pitchers are at a stalemate. Lackey is allowing a career .286 batting average with one home run to Giants hitters, and Hudson is allowing a career .290 average with zero home runs to Cardinals sluggers.

Let’s go ahead and call this one even on the mound. Although, it’s difficult to deny the appeal of Hudson’s enthusiasm following his first win, via John Middlekauff of 95.7 The Game:

But, what about at the plate? Well, it doesn’t get any easier there; however, these teams have scored runs this postseason in completely different fashions.

The Giants are batting .242 as a team and have more at-bats (265) than any other playoff squad. The team thrives on a deep rotation, as practically every hitter is a difficult out. They can get starters’ pitch counts up early and then feast on reserves.

The Cardinals have a different story. This is a team that has recently discovered the long ball. St. Louis is only batting .227 as a team, but an abundance of home runs gets this squad runs in bulk. The Cardinals attempted to shift their batting order in Game 2, moving Jon Jay to the No. 2 spot, but that didn’t quite work out, as he tallied just one hit in four plate appearances.

The edge in Game 3 has to go to the most consistent and complete team. While this may have not been the case during the regular season, the Giants get the advantage here. Earning a road win and coming home to a jam-packed crowd will lead to a win on Tuesday.

Prediction: Giants 4, Cardinals 2

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