Three keys for the Giants in Game 4 of the NLCS

Three keys for the Giants in Game 4 of the NLCS

SAN FRANCISCO -- One of the Giants' primary issues is clear as they approach Wednesday's Game 4 (5 p.m. PT on FOX Sports 1) of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Can the Giants score conventionally? Inventive as they are offensively, it's difficult to imagine that they can build their offense around scoring on opponents' mistakes, such as wild pitches and errors.

  Date Recaps Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 11 SF 3, STL 0 video
Gm 2 Oct. 12 STL 5, SF 4 video
Gm 3 Oct. 14 SF 5, STL 4 video
Gm 4 Oct. 15 SF 6, STL 4 video
Gm 5 Oct. 16 SF 6, STL 3 video
Nevertheless, it makes for entertaining baseball. Here are factors that could help the Giants mix some effectiveness into that entertainment.

1. Vogelsong's velocity
In last Tuesday's NL Division Series clincher against the Washington Nationals, starter Ryan Vogelsong's fastball hovered in the range of 94-95 mph, about 3-4 mph speedier than his regular-season readings. Fixing some mechanical flaws enabled Vogelsong to generate his best stuff. Quite possibly, a little adrenaline helped, too. San Francisco would welcome another fortified performance from the club's gutsy right-hander.

2. Score for Vogey
This would be a new concept for the Giants, who averaged just 2.79 runs per game behind Vogelsong in his 16 home starts. They scored one run or fewer for him 11 times. No wonder he registered a 3-7 mark at AT&T Park despite recording a 3.06 ERA there. The pattern continued in Game 4 of the NLDS against Washington, as San Francisco scored twice during Vogelsong's 5 2/3 innings.

3. It's catching
The Giants have maintained solid defense throughout the postseason. Virtually every regular has made at least one play worthy of highlighting. More importantly, they've constantly made the routine plays, which is the basis of winning. This is half of the time-honored combination of pitching and defense, which has sustained San Francisco in recent years.

Chris Haft is a reporter for Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.