Tuesday night has yet another pitchers duel in store for baseball fans.
With the NLCS tied up at a game a-piece, Matt Cain will take the hill against Cole Hamels for Game 3 at 4:19pm ET this evening at AT&T Park, where a sell-out crowd will furiously wave their towels and sing their version of Don't Stop Believing in search of their first pennant since they cheered for Barry Bonds eight years ago.
Cain should feel pretty good, as he hasn't pitched since Game 2 of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves on October 8. The fact that those 10 days mark the longest pitching lapse in the right-hander's career could be a good thing or a bad thing, I suppose. Will he be rested or rusty?
Hamels, the 2008 World Series MVP, has a tough act to follow after Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt, but managed a five-hit shutout against the Cincinnati Reds in his last outing on October 10.
One thing is for sure: Giants outfielder Cody Ross sure likes going yard off guys named Roy this postseason, but how will he fair versus Cole? He faced him just once during the regular season and went 1-for-3, but is batting a career .300 against the lefty with a double, four homers, six RBI and a walk in 30 at bats. When Hamels was asked how he plans to deal with the hot-hitting late season pick up, he joked:
Hit him. No, just kidding. Hope he doesn’t hear this.Ross knows the importance of today's game:
[Today] is absolutely important. We’re coming home. We like playing at home, Matt on the mound. We have all the confidence in the world in him.The Giants lineup is more or less set, although manager Bruce Bochy has considered replacing the struggling Andres Torres with former Phillie fan favorite Aaron Rowand in centerfield. That might not be a bad idea, seeing as how Torres is 1-for-9 in the series so far after being awarded the Golden Sombrero with four strikeouts Sunday night.
Also, Juan Uribe’s bruised left wrist might be a god-send for the slumping Pablo Sandoval, who was benched the past four games in favor of Mike Fontenot. In the absence of Uribe, San Francisco's opening day third baseman and no. 3 hitter would ease back into the lineup at the hot corner for his first NLCS start while Edgar Renteria would stay at shortstop. We're pulling for you Kung Fu Panda!
[USA Today] | [McCovey Chronicles] | [The 700 Level]