Having fun, Cain won't be overwhelmed by Game 7
Righty avoids putting too much pressure on himself, even in face of high stakes
SAN FRANCISCO -- It has come down to this for the San Francisco Giants, an offer their manager, Bruce Bochy, wouldn't have been able to refuse if made nearly seven months ago.Someone walks up to Bochy prior to the April 6 season opener in Phoenix and says, "You will be able to give the ball to Matt Cain in a game that will determine whether you go to the World Series."
Bochy's response?"Of course you would take that. Just like I'd take being told we were two games away from getting where we want to go," the manager said before Sunday's Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. Ryan Vogelsong knocked down the penultimate step, with his 6-1 victory over St. Louis.
That put the ball in Cain's court, in his yard for Monday night in the first NLCS Game 7 since 2006, when these Cardinals survived the New York Mets as Adam Wainwright bent a called third strike past Carlos Beltran with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning.
Tale of the Tape: Game 7
|2012 regular season|
|Overall: 33 GS, 16-3, 2.86 ERA, 38 BB, 143 K||Overall: 32 GS, 16-5, 2.79 ERA, 51 BB, 193 K|
|Key stat: Lohse wasn't sharp in Game 3, but he was able to pitch through jams over his 5 2/3 innings to get around five walks and seven hits allowed, surrendering only one run.||Key stat: In Game 3, Cain allowed three runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings, though his solid start was doomed by poor run support.|
|At AT&T Park|
Career: 4 GS, 3-1, 3.42 ERA
| 2012: 15 GS, 7-4, 2.86 ERA
Career: 121 GS, 47-38, 2.98 ERA
|Against this opponent|
Career: 5 GS, 3-2, 3.78 ERA
|2012: 2 GS, 1-1, 6.94 ERA
Career: 8 GS, 2-3, 4.94 ERA
|Loves to face: Aubrey Huff: 5-for-27, 4 K
Hates to face: Hunter Pence: 14-for-50, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI
|Loves to face: Matt Holliday: 8-for-43, 11 K
Hates to face: Carlos Beltran: 7-for-19, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI
|Why he'll win: Lohse is 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in three starts this postseason.||Why he'll win: Cain has grown each stronger in each of his three starts this postseason, lasting 5, 5 2/3 and 6 2/3 innings, respectively.|
|Pitcher beware: After walking one batter in each of his first two starts this postseason, Lohse put five on base in Game 3.||Pitcher beware: Among active pitchers with at least 200 career starts, Cain receives the lowest run support, an average of 3.85 runs per game.|
|Bottom line: Lohse has been the workhorse and quiet leader for the Cards this season, earning this shot to send St. Louis to the World Series for the second straight year.||Bottom line: Cain has been the ace of the Giants' staff, and they wouldn't want anyone else on the mound with a chance to go to the World Series on the line.|
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.