National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, April 18th
(All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Phillies (5-6) at San Francisco Giants (5-6), 10:15 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - Cliff Lee (0-1, 3.46)
San Francisco - Matt Cain (1-0, 3.00)
(Sports Network) - Matt Cain flirted with perfection last time out. He'll
probably be happy with a series victory this evening as the San Francisco
Giants play the rubber match of a three-game series against the Philadelphia
After getting roughed up in his season debut on April 8 in Arizona, Cain threw
an absolute gem on Friday versus Pittsburgh. He finished with a one-hit
shutout and struck out 11, and the only hit he gave up was a two-out single to
opposing starting pitcher James McDonald in the sixth inning.
The right-hander threw 73 of his 106 pitches for strikes and faced one batter
over the minimum, picking up his first win since signing a six-year, $127.5
million contract extension earlier this month.
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said catcher Buster Posey came to him during
the game and told him he could tell Cain "was on, was locked in."
"And he's one of the best when he's locked in," said Bochy.
The 27-year-old Cain hasn't been locked in much against the Phillies in his
career, posting a 1-4 record and 4.17 earned run average in seven meetings.
Still, if Cain can pitch like he did last week, tonight's finale could turn
into a pitcher's duel given the history of Phillies starter Cliff Lee against
Lee has won all four of his career starts against the Giants, logging two
complete games, one a shutout, and a 0.82 ERA while striking out 29 over 33
innings. He went the distance in his lone start against them last season,
hurling a seven-hit shutout while fanning eight.
The 33-year-old left comes into this start still searching for his first win
of 2012. Lee got a no-decision in Pittsburgh on April 7 despite giving up only
one run on two hits and two walks over six innings. He then took a loss at
home versus the Mets on Friday, touched for four runs on five hits in seven
innings while striking out seven.
Lee gave up two homers in the setback, including a three-run shot to the Mets'
Jason Bay in the first inning.
"I wish I could have back the pitch to Bay. It was a bad pitch down the
middle," Lee said, adding, "Other than that, I felt pretty good. I wish I
could've kept the ball in the ballpark."
The Giants drew even in this series with last night's 4-2 victory. One day
after signing a five-year extension with the Giants, Madison Bumgarner allowed
two runs over six-plus innings to get the win.
Nate Schierholtz had three hits and an RBI, Posey added three hits and Melky
Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Crawford all added an RBI for San
Francisco, which snapped a brief two-game slide.
"I'm just trying to stay through the ball and get the barrel on it," said
Posey. "I feel like I have two strikes every at-bat right now and it's just
one of those things where I'm up there battling."
Hunter Pence cracked a solo homer and Carlos Ruiz knocked in a run for the
Phillies, who failed to record their first three-game win streak of the
Joe Blanton took the loss after giving up four runs on 11 hits over five
Philadelphia took three of four in San Francisco last season.
04/18 10:39:30 ET