NLCS Game 1: Giants (0-0) @ Cardinals (0-0)

Jenifer Langosch/

wpid-img_20141011_165550427.jpgThe Cardinals open their best-of-seven series against the Giants tonight with Adam Wainwright on the mound. San Francisco will counter with Madison Bumgarner, who has a 0.78 ERA (two earned runs; 23 innings pitched) in three career playoff road starts. He hasn’t allowed a run on the road in his last 19 innings the third-longest such streak in Giants history.

Wainwright (who insists his right elbow is fine) has some sterling postseason numbers of his own, however. Of the 12 Cardinals pitchers with at least 15 innings pitched in the NLCS, Wainwright has the lowest ERA (1.59).

The Cardinals have again included four left-handed batters against Bumgarner and have little hesitation doing so given the left-on-left success this club had against the Dodgers last round.

So how important is winning Game 1? Since the LCS was implemented in 1969, 30 of the 44 NL teams to win Game 1 have gone on to win the series. In more recent times, though, that margin hasn’t been so wide. Since 2005, the Game 1 winner is 5-4 in the NLCS. The Cardinals are 5-2 in Game 1 of the NLCS when playing it at home.

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