SAN FRANCISCO -- There are only four catchers who have received more of Matt Cain's starts than St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.
Matheny, who spent the final two seasons in his 13-year MLB career with San Francisco, has been behind the dish receiving pitches from Cain 15 times, ushering the Giants' horse to a 3.89 ERA and a .193 opponents batting average.
"I was very fortunate to be a part of this organization for a couple of years and watch some young careers begin, like a Matt Cain," Matheny said. "I knew Tim Lincecum was on the way. And Buster Posey through the minor league system."
Lincecum and Posey have achieved much since Matheny's departure -- two Cy Young Awards, Rookie of the Year, five All Star invites, plus the bevy of awards Posey will garner for his 2012 season that could include MVP and Comeback Player of the Year on top of the NL batting title. Matt Cain? He's does have the June 13 perfect game against Houston, but it's been very much business as usual for the man tabbed to start Game 1 of the Giants' playoffs.
Matheny was impressed with much more than just a young Cain, though.
"I was able to spend a good amount of time with Dave Righetti, with Ron Wotus and Mark Gardner," Matheny said. "And it's a quality group of people over here.
"Brian Sabean and the ownership here in San Francisco has done a great job of setting a great foundation for what this organization is all about, and the fan base has been phenomenal in their support. It was a nice place to play, and definitely learned a lot of things."
Matheny hit .239 with 16 home runs and 77 RBIs in 181 games with the Giants, earning his fourth career Gold Glove in 2005. He also won the Willie Mac Award -- voted on by the players and coaching staff for the player best exemplifying spirit and leadership.
This year's winner -- Buster Posey -- is hoping the give the '05 recipient fits in the NLCS. Each team is coming off comeback victories in their NLDS matchups.
The Cardinals, who trailed 6-0 in the elimination Game 5 and scored four runs in the ninth inning to end the Washington Nationals' season, don't have too much time to process what they've accomplished.
"It still hasn't really sunk in," Matheny said. "At least to the extent of what these guys did. The bats they put together, the innings that the bullpen threw, I mean, it was one that goes into a category like I've never seen before personally or been that closely a part of. So, it really hasn't sunk in, but that day will come.
"Right now we can't spend too much time on that, we need to get ready for the next one."
What kind of series is he expecting with the Giants?
"I see a knock-down, drag out."