Giants fans hoping for another miracle

Following a rough 8-3 loss to the Cardinals in Game 4 Thursday night, the San Francisco Giants sit on the brink of elimination once again, needing another string of three-consecutive victories to keep their 2012 season alive. After two dominant stints out of the bullpen in the NLDS, former ace Tim Lincecum could not carry his success into a starting role in Game 4, giving up four runs in 4⅔ innings.

Several story lines have emerged from this NLCS through just four games: Matt Holliday's "dirty" slide, Hunter Pence's inability to protect Buster Posey in the lineup, Carlos Beltran's continued October dominance. For Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles, though, the story of the Championship Series has been timely hitting, specifically the Giants' lack thereof:

In the National League Championship Series, after a full season of hitting their way to a division title, the San Francisco Giants could not hit.

There are a lot of story lines you could choose. The return of the new Tim Lincecum, whom we didn't miss at all. The sloppy defense. A bullpen that picked a bad time to fail. But, no, the real story is the dastardly, villainous offense. After worrying we were going to watch this kind of offensive display all season, there was a reprieve. The offense was quite good for most of the year, especially in the last two months of the season. It was the starting pitching that was shaky. That was a little unexpected, sure, but everything was portioned out well enough to get the team to 94 wins.

And in the NLCS, the Giants couldn't hit.

Worse, it's been the same kind of can't-hit that plagued the Giants early in the season: a lack of hits with runners in scoring position, especially with two outs. The hitting was generally lousy in Game 4 -- five hits! no walks! -- but over the series, the Giants have been miserable with runners on base.

If the Giants got to cut Angel Pagan's triple and paste it into Game 3, for example, the series might be tied. And if touching Pablo Sandoval's nipples gave you the weather, he'd be an iPhone.

So it goes.

The Giants will send left-hander Barry Zito to the hill Friday night to try to keep their season alive. Game time is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast on FOX.

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