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."

Bochy breaks from norm on Phillies pitcher who hit Posey: 'He's an idiot'

Bochy breaks from norm on Phillies pitcher who hit Posey: 'He's an idiot'

SAN FRANCISCO — Buster Posey never says anything controversial after games. Bruce Bochy tries to never say anything bad about opposing players. 

Hector Neris, however, has gotten under some skin. 

A day after the Phillies reliever drilled Posey in the back, Bochy said he was not surprised that Posey publicly stated that he felt the pitch was intentional. 

“It wasn’t just a little inside. The same guy — I’ll say it, he’s an idiot,” Bochy said. “He showed it in Philadelphia when he was having words with (Eduardo) Nuñez, so I think that caused the radar to be up a little bit on what happened there. It wasn’t a glancing blow. It was at his ribs and on the backside of his ribs. I’m not surprised. I would have been upset, too.

“You never know for sure, but it certainly didn’t look good. Anyway, that’s behind us.”

Neris got on the Giants’ radar earlier this season when he walked off the mound and followed Nuñez back to the dugout after a ninth-inning strikeout. During that incident, he appeared to blow a kiss at Nuñez, who turned back toward the mound with a confused look on the face. The two knew each other before the incident. 

Bochy said he does not want to make a big deal out of this, and he said repeatedly that Sunday’s frustration is behind the Giants. He clarified later in his pre-game interview that Neris “acted like an idiot” during his incident with Nuñez. 

The two teams do not play again this season.

Giants lineup: Buster Posey out, Hunter Pence back in for opener vs Brewers


Giants lineup: Buster Posey out, Hunter Pence back in for opener vs Brewers

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Brewers-Giants coverage begins at 6pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming right here.

A day after taking a couple shots on defense and in the batter's box, Buster Posey is getting the night off as the Brewers come to town.

Milwaukee Brewers:
1. Eric Thames (L) 1B
2. Jonathan Villar (S) 2B
3. Ryan Braun (R) LF
4. Travis Shaw (L) 3B
5. Domingo Santana (R) RF
6. Stephen Vogt (L) C
7. Keon Broxton (R) CF
8. Orlando Arcia (R) SS
9. Zach Davies (R) P

San Francisco Giants:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
3. Jarrett Parker (L) LF
4. Hunter Pence (R) RF
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
7. Nick Hundley (R) C
8. Ryder Jones (L) 1B
9. Chris Stratton (R) P