NLCS Game 3: St. Louis Cardinals 3, San Francisco Giants 1

BOX SCORE

Game 1: Cardinals 6, Giants 4
Game 2: Giants 7, Cardinals 1
Game 3: Cardinals 3, Giants 1
Game 4: Giants (Lincecum) at Cardinals (Wainwright), 5:07 p.m. Thursday
Game 5: Giants (Zito) at Cardinals (Lynn), 5:07 p.m. Friday
x-Game 6: Cardinals at Giants, 1:07 p.m. Sunday
x-Game 7: Cardinals at Giants, 5:07 p.m. Monday
x-if necessary

OK, it isn’t time to panic.

But it is time to become worried … at least about Hunter Pence.

At least Hunter Pence’s defense has been good in the postseason (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris Lee)

Pence repeatedly missed opportunities to deliver in the clutch as his woeful postseason at the plate continued.

After going 4 for 20 (.200) with no RBI in the NLDS, he is now 1 for 11 with no RBI in the NLCS. That’s a whopping .161 for the postseason.

The Giants’ biggest scoring threat came in the top of the third when Angel Pagan singled and Marco Scutaro slapped a double down the right-field line, putting runners on second and third and nobody out.

Pablo Sandoval followed with a sacrifice fly scoring Pagan and sending Scutaro to third.

The Cardinals then intentionally walked Buster Posey. Then Pence came up and grounded into an inning-ending double play.

In the fifth with two outs, the Cardinals walked Posey again. Pence grounded out to short.

In the seventh, Pablo Sandoval hits a one-out liner off the wall in left, but only managed a single. That angered many Giants, but it didn’t really matter. Because if Sandoval had doubled, the Cardinals would have simply walked Posey again.

At least with Sandoval staying at first, Posey at least got a chance to swing the bat. He delivered a single to left, putting runners at first and second and one out.

This time, Pence struck out.

“I’m the goat tonight. I just didn’t get the job done,” Pence said.

Well, there were plenty of oats to go around the Giants’ lineup.

With runner at second and third and two out in the fourth, Angel Pagan flied out to center to end the inning. In the sixth, with two on and two out, Pagan grounded out to end the inning.

In the seventh, after Pence struck out, Brandon Belt struck out looking.

In the end, it was one run on nine hits and FIVE walks.

The hole in the lineup that is Pence is making it easy for teams to pitch around Posey, who is being followed in the lineup by a guy who strikes out swinging too much and then a who strikes out looking too much.

The guy who strikes out looking might find himself looking from the bench in Game 5.

Bruce Bochy said he would consider lineup changes for Game 5. Bay Area media members said that would likely include Hector Sanchez catching and Buster Posey at first base.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News suggested a lineup that would look like this:

CF Angel Pagan
LF Gregor Blanco
2B Marco Scutaro
1B Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Hector Sanchez
RF Hunter Pence
SS Brandon Crawford

I doubt we’ll see a lineup with Pence hitting seventh. It’s not Bochy’s style. But some kind of shakeup is needed right now.

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