ST. LOUIS -- As Mike Matheny wrapped up his catching career with two seasons in San Francisco, his path intersected that of a budding young right-hander who had been taken in the first round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.
Three years after that Draft, Matheny caught Matt Cain's Major League debut on Aug. 29, 2005, and he went on to be his batterymate in five of the next six starts Cain made during his first season with the Giants. Matheny began the '06 season as Cain's primary catcher, too, before concussions ended his season -- and career -- prematurely.
Cain has since become a perennial All-Star, a staff ace, and he added a perfect game to his list of accomplishments in June. It was the first perfect game in San Francisco history. On Wednesday, Matheny, now manager of the Cardinals, prepared to watch Cain, San Francisco's Game 3 starter, from a different vantage point.
"[I've] always been a big fan of Matt and the way he has gone about his business," Matheny said before Wednesday's game. "Even as a young player, a lot like I talked about a young [Chris] Carpenter and Roy Halladay in Toronto, I saw the same sort of makeup in Matt Cain. The stuff was very obvious, but just the makeup and how he held himself together on the mound, much more mature than his age at the time. He's had a very, very nice career. And [he is] somebody that I have a lot of respect for, and [it] is an honor to be a part of his early career."
In two starts against the Cardinals this year, Cain allowed 16 hits and nine earned runs in 11 2/3 innings.
Bochy has Scutaro in Game 3 lineup
ST. LOUIS -- Marco Scutaro was in the Giants' starting lineup for Wednesday afternoon's Game 3 of the National League Championship Series vs. the Cardinals.Scutaro was in his customary spot -- batting second and playing second base -- in the lineup posted by manager Bruce Bochy in the San Francisco clubhouse before the Giants took the field for pregame workouts.
However, Bochy indicated that he would make the final call after Scutaro participated in pregame fielding drills. The second baseman suffered a strained left hip when St. Louis' Matt Holliday leveled him with a slide in the first inning of Game 2 on Monday."He will take ground balls, he'll get tested to see how the knee and the hip respond," Bochy said. "If we have to adjust, we will." That wasn't necessary, as Scutaro came through fine and started the game. When the Giants checked into Busch Stadium in the morning, Bochy had fully expected the gamer to be able to play. "Actually, it was a pretty easy call," Bochy said. "I kept in touch with [athletic trainer] Dave Groeschner, and after talking to Marco I could tell in his eyes that he was a lot more optimistic about playing. Last night, I felt a hundred percent that he would be out there."
Four-year-old game guided Bochy's rain plan
ST. LOUIS -- History taught Giants manager Bruce Bochy to pay extra attention to Wednesday's weather, which threatened the scheduled start of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.The possibility of a rain delay or cancellation made Bochy aware not to overthink his pitching plans. The Giants fervently wanted Game 3 to be played as scheduled, since it would enable right-hander Matt Cain to return in Monday's Game 7, if necessary, on his usual four days' rest. They got their wish, at least initially, as Game 3 started on time. The threat of bad weather might force some managers to use a different starter to avoid wasting an ace pitcher in case the game would be called after a few innings. But, Bochy declared, "It's nature and it's unpredictable as to what's going to happen. So Matt will start the game if we start this game." Bochy learned his lesson on April 2, 2008, at Los Angeles. The Giants and Dodgers were informed that they'd be able to play about two innings before storms would drench Dodger Stadium. So the Giants scratched Tim Lincecum and the Dodgers did the same with Chad Billingsley. But the anticipated rainfall didn't halt play until the top of the fifth. Each team had used three pitchers by then. Lincecum entered the game in the fourth inning and, with Bochy defying convention, resumed pitching after a one-hour, 14-minute delay. Lincecum ultimately worked four innings in San Francisco's 2-1 victory. The memory remained fresh in Bochy's mind as Wednesday's scheduled starting time approached.
"You kick yourself for not doing what you originally were going to do -- start Timmy," he said.
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. Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.