If you had to predict an early story in Game 5 of this National League Championship Series, your only real choice was something about Barry Zito getting hammered in the first two or three innings, because a) that's been his recent history in big games, and 2) the Cardinals typically punish left-handed pitchers. Especially (we might surmise) left-handed pitchers who barely throw harder than your Nana.
Well, that hasn't happened yet. Not exactly. In the bottom of the first, Carlos Beltran singled but got stranded. In the second, though, Yadier Molina drove Zito's first into center field for a single. David Freese then drove the first pitch he saw into right field, where Hunter Pence failed to make a diving catch; Freese cruised into second base, with Molina holding at third.
Zito battled back to strike out Daniel Descalso, then issued an intentional pass to Pete Kozma, bringing up Cardinals starting pitcher Lance Lynn with the bases loaded. And Lynn obliged the Giants by hitting into an easy double play, 6 to 4 to 3. And Zito had somehow wriggled out of the big jam.
So far, the real story in this game? Lance Lynn has been literally unhittable in the first two innings. In the top of the first, Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan grounded out, and then Lynn struck out Pablo Sandoval. And in the second, Lynn struck out all three Giants he faced: Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, and Brandon Belt. And he needed only a dozen pitches to do it.
Anyway, we're heading into the third inning and this one's still scoreless.