National League Championship Series Game 5: St Louis Cardinals at San Francisco Giants

Date/Time: October 16, 8:07 p.m. ET

TV: FOX Sports 1

MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook

Probable Starters: STL: Adam Wainwright (0-1, 3.86) v. SF: Madison Bumgarner (1-0, 0.00)

Moneyline: OFF

Total: OFF

The St. Louis Cardinals find themselves in a desperate position thanks to their loss in Game 4. The San Francisco Giants are now in a position where they can avoid returning to St. Louis for Game 6. The two aces from the first game of the series will meet once again in Game 5 as Adam Wainwright tries to fix what was wrong in his Game 1 start against Madison Bumgarner, who had everything working in his series-opening outing. With a lot on the line, both of these pitchers should be at their best.

Adam Wainwright really struggled for the second time this postseason in his NLCS Game 1 start against the Giants. He only made it through 4.2 innings of work and allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits. Uncharacteristically, Wainwright walked three and struck out only two. The elbow that gave him trouble late in the regular season and in his NLDS start seems to be acting up again. He fought with his command and his control and those are two things that Wainwright is generally in complete control of. Over his last four postseason starts, Wainwright has a 6.00 ERA over 21 innings of work. The Cardinals certainly have to be concerned about their ace, especially in a game that means so much.

There’s not much to worry about with Madison Bumgarner. In three postseason starts, he’s been elite. He has allowed just two earned runs in 23.2 innings of work with 23 strikeouts along the way. He has also pitched at least seven innings in each of his three starts and that’s vitally important with the workloads placed on bullpens throughout the season and the additional stress of throwing playoff pitches. Overall, Bumgarner has a 2.58 in his playoff career that covers 59.2 innings of work. In nine career postseason series, Bumgarner has never been part of the losing team. One other interesting note about Bumgarner is that he posted a .755 OPS as a batter this season, so there’s not really a chance for an opposing pitcher to relax when facing him.

Wainwright is 5-5 with a 3.11 ERA in 10 starts and two relief appearances against the Giants during the regular season. In the postseason, Wainwright is 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA in two starts. The Cardinals were 23-9 in Wainwright’s 32 regular season starts and are 1-1 in his two playoff starts.

Bumgarner is 3-4 with a 3.97 ERA in seven career regular season starts against the Cardinals. In the postseason, Bumgarner is 1-1 and his two starts have been polar opposites. In last season’s ALCS, Bumgarner gave up six runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings. This season, he threw 7.2 shutout innings. The Giants were 20-13 in his 33 regular season starts and are 2-1 in his three playoff starts.

Free MLB Pick: San Francisco Giants

There are way too many concerns about Adam Wainwright right now to recommend backing him. In Game 1, Wainwright was the pick and he disappointed those that followed and that’s not a mistake to fall for again. It’s clear that he’s not healthy and that something is clearly not right. At this time of the year, a pitcher with an arm injury is toxic and that’s what Wainwright appears to be.