Holliday, weather loom as threats for Giants in Game 3


Holliday, weather loom as threats for Giants in Game 3

ST. LOUIS Whats the most important matchup in Game 3 ofthe NLCS Wednesday night?

Matt Holliday vs. Matt Cain? Buster Posey vs. Kyle Lohse?Marco Scutaro vs. the Wabash Cannon Ball railway?

Nope. Its that giant green blob smack dab in the middle of the North American Doppler radar map. And the timing of its arrival over Busch Stadium could havea major impact on this series.

As of Wednesday morning, forecasts called for the game tobegin on time at 3 p.m. CDT, with heavy rain moving in anywhere from an hour tothree hours after the scheduled first pitch.

If both starters get iced out by a long delay, then Game 3could become a battle of long relief. Thats why Giants manager Bruce Bochyhasnt named Tim Lincecum his starter yet for Game 4; he could be forced to useLincecum in case Cain gets too heated up to bring back, but there remain toomany innings to bridge.

As it stands, the matchup of Cain and the Cardinals KyleLohse match the two best pitchers during the regular season for both clubs.

Cain was 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA that ranked fourth in the NLand a 1.04 WHIP that ranked second. Lohse was 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA (fifth) and1.09 WHIP (fourth).

Both pitchers work quickly and tend to get their teams backin the dugout without delay, and theyll be more motivated than ever to hustlein an effort to beat the rain.

Cain was up and down this postseason against the CincinnatiReds while Lohse has been on more of a roll. He kept the Cardinals alive in thewild card knockout game, pitching them past the Braves who had won 23consecutive starts by Kris Medlen, a modern record, before St. Louis endedAtlantas season.

Hunter Pence has seen plenty of Lohse over his career,owning a .295 average but no home runs in 44 at-bats. In fact, the only Giantwho has a career homer off Lohse is the injured Freddy Sanchez, for what itsworth.

Marco Scutaro is in the lineup at second base, but if heneeds to exit because of his sore hip and knee, Ryan Theriot is a 12-for-22hitter (.545) with two doubles and two triples against Lohse.

As for Cain, he like every other human being to stand on amound -- will have to be careful with Carlos Beltran, who is 7 for 18 (.389)with a homer, two doubles and a triple. Jon Jay has been a tough matchup withfour hits in six at-bats.

But the focus will be on Holliday, whose takeout slide sentScutaro to the MRI chamber in Game 2.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy has declared the incident overand Scutaro said he only wants his pitchers to exact revenge by pitching nineinnings of shutout baseball. So Cain probably wont mete out any countryhardball justice.

But as Ryan Vogelsong demonstrated in Game 2, you have tobust Holliday inside to be successful, and Cain had no fears about doing that regardless of what intent people might put on it if he misses too far in.

You have to go out and pitch your game, Cain said. Ifsomething gets away from you inside, it gets away. Thats part of the game. Youvegot to pitch in and youve got to pitch away. You cant have a fear of doingthat.

Holliday is 8 for 40 (.200) against Cain with three homeruns.

One of those homers was the first Cain allowed in his bigleague career. Holliday was the fourth batter he faced in his debut, Aug. 29,2005 against the Colorado Rockies.

The two havent stopped battling since then.

Ive always been a guy whos going to challenge him and hesa guy whos going to challenge you at the plate, Cain said. Hes not afraidto swing the bat. So sometimes it depends on (whether) you throw the ball whereyou want to, because if you dont, he swings hard and hes going to takeadvantage of it. And its usually not going to be for a little sloppy single."

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres


Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres


SAN FRANCISCO — On Monday, Christian Arroyo made his MLB debut. Tuesday brought his first hit and on Wednesday it was the first homer. Thursday’s game was his first multi-hit game as a big leaguer. What was in store Friday? The best swing yet.

Arroyo hit a go-ahead shot to left while leading off the eighth, giving the Giants a 4-3 win in their series opener with the Padres. The player coaches simply call “The Kid” has two homers in his first five games, and both have come in huge spots. Friday’s sent another jolt through AT&T Park and got a lead to Mark Melancon, who closed out the Padres. 

For four innings, a long-haired right-hander was no-hitting the Padres. Jeff Samardzija was sharp early and he got a nice cushion in the first. Joe Panik and Brandon Belt led off with singles and Panik scored on Erick Aybar’s two-out error. A Conor Gillaspie knock made it 2-0. 

The first hit allowed by Samardzija was a painful one. He plunked Yangervis Solarte to open the fifth and Ryan Schimpf hit a long dinger to dead center to tie the game. Cory Spangenberg followed with a single to left that skipped under Belt’s glove. Spangenberg went to third on the play and scored on a bloop. 

Belt made up for the play in the bottom of the inning, beating the outfield shift with a double and scoring on Mike Morse’s sacrifice fly to right two batters later. Samardzija ran into trouble in the seventh, but with two in scoring position and one out, he got a strikeout and a grounder to third. The Giants put the go-ahead run on second in their half, but Hunter Pence and Morse struck out. 

Starting pitching report: Samardzija has allowed six homers. He’s tied for fourth in the NL with a handful of players, including Johnny Cueto and Matt Moore. 

Bullpen report: Melancon has five straight saves since blowing his first opportunity as a Giant. 

At the plate: Belt reached base four times. His on-base percentage is sitting at a cool .390. 

In the field: Panik made a brilliant diving catch in center for the first out of the ninth. 

Attendance: The Giants announced a sellout crowd. One of the fans looked just like Samardzija, possibly on purpose. 

Up next: Matt Cain has a 2.42 ERA but he left his last start with a tight hamstring. He’ll face Jhoulys Chacin (2-3, 5.90).

Bumgarner diagnosed with Grade 2 shoulder sprain, not expected back before break

Bumgarner diagnosed with Grade 2 shoulder sprain, not expected back before break

SAN FRANCISCO -- One of the most important men in the Giants organization over the next two months won't be seen on the field. Madison Bumgarner has been turned over to Tony Reale, the team's physical therapist, for the start of his rehab from a dirt bike accident. The process kicked off Friday, and a week after they first announced the injury, the Giants provided additional details. 

Trainer Dave Groeschner said Bumgarner has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 left shoulder sprain, which means there are partial tears in his shoulder. The diagnosis was not a surprise, and neither is the timetable. Bumgarner is expected to need two months before he can get back on the mound and then another three to four weeks of throwing and rehab starts before he's big league-ready. If all goes according to plan, he will return to the rotation right after the All-Star break, although the early rehab process will determine if the timetable can be moved up a bit or if it has to be pushed back. 

The medical process is led by Dr. Ken Akizuki, the team's orthopedist, but outside specialists were consulted. Dr. Tim McAdams, the team doctor for the 49ers, saw Bumgarner and his test results were sent to Dr. James Andrews, the most famous name in the field, and Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed Will Smith's Tommy John surgery. All of the doctors agreed that Bumgarner does not need surgery. 

"That's nice to hear," Groeschner said. "It's nice when everyone is in agreement. Now we'll put a plan in place and work on the rehab and get him back. Bum is a very conscientious person. We feel good about the fact that if we’re going to ask him to do something (to rehab), he’s going to do it.”

The Giants are confident Bumgarner will attack the rehab process. He has been diligent in the opening days about icing and getting treatment. They also are confident that the injury will not hamper his unique delivery, although more will be known as he gets closer to throwing. 

In the meantime, Ty Blach will take his second turn in Bumgarner's spot on Sunday.