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10/18/10 8:29 PM ET

Cain part of Giants' homegrown success

Well-rested right-hander set for Game 3 in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Cain, who will be starting Game 3 of the National League Championship Series against the Phillies on Tuesday at AT&T Park, is one of the Giants' young pitching prodigies. But he'll have all the pressure on him for the moment with the series tied at a game apiece.

All four of the starters in this series -- Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, Cain and Madison Bumgarner -- were selected by the Giants in the Draft and developed in their system. Lincecum, Cain and Bumgarner were all first-round picks; Sanchez was a 27th-round pick.

Tale of the Tape: NLCS Game 3
2010 Regular Season
Overall: 33 GS, 12-11, 3.06 ERA, 61 BB, 211 Ks
Overall: 33 GS, 13-11, 3.14 ERA, 61 BB, 177 Ks
Key stat: 1.82 ERA in final six regular-season starts
Key stat:Had 2.91 ERA in second half
2010: 1 GS, 1-0, 0.00 ERA
Career: 11 GS, 6-3, 3.36 ERA
2010: 1 GS, 0-0, 0.00 ERA
Career: 1 GS, 0-0, 0.00 ERA
2010: 1 GS, 0-0, 6.00 ERA Career: 4 GS, 2-1, 6.12 ERA
2010: 17 GS, 8-4, 2.76 ERA Career: 90 GS, 33-30, 3.15 ERA
Against this opponent
2010: 2 GS, 0-1, 7.36 ERA Career: 8 GS, 4-2, 4.67 ERA
2010: 1 GS, 0-0 4.50 ERA Career: 5 GS, 0-3, 6.23 ERA
Loves to face: Aubrey Huff (1-for-7, 5 Ks)
Hates to face: Cody Ross (9-for-30, 4 HRs)
Loves to face: Shane Victorino (2-for-8)
Hates to face: Chase Utley (7-for-14, 3 HRs)
Game breakdown
Why he'll win: Young lefty always steps up in October
Why he'll win: Feed off frenzied home crowd
Pitcher beware: Top of Giants order has good numbers against him
Pitcher beware: Chase Utley, Ryan Howard have hit him hard in the past
Bottom line: October ace
Bottom line: Workhorse

There's a real comfort in that, according to Cain.

"It's a pretty cool situation," said Cain, who is facing left-hander Cole Hamels in what could be a pivotal game in the best-of-seven series. "We came through all the Minor League cities and got to know the Giants' history real well. That's what makes it so gratifying to be on the playoffs with these guys. Just being homegrown in the organization, you feel good about that."

General manager Brian Sabean resisted overtures during the last few years to trade some of that young pitching for veteran talent. And here they are.

"Brian would tell you how important pitching is, especially in our division," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's pitching-rich. We have [bigger] ballparks. There were some discussions about moving one of our young pitchers for a bat, but to his credit, he never wavered on that and wasn't going to do it. It's the key to our success, what our pitchers have done."

In contrast, the Phillies' big four -- save for Hamels -- came from outside the organization. Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton were acquired in trades that cost the Phillies plenty of young talent. And you can add Cliff Lee to the mix. The left-hander was brought in last year in a trade with the Indians in hopes that he'd help the Phillies win a second straight World Series. When that didn't happen, the Phils acquired Halladay from Toronto and traded Lee to Seattle.

Hamels, himself a first-round Draft pick, is their only anomaly. Two years ago he was named MVP of both the Phillies' NLCS victory over the Dodgers and their World Series win over the Rays.

"You get used to pitching in tight ballgames like this," Cain said during a news conference as both teams worked out at AT&T Park on Monday. "Cole is going to go out there, throw the ball well, and you're expecting it to be a tight game and a good pitching matchup. So you get used to pitching in close ballgames and understand what the big pressure is like when those key times in the game kind of come about."

The Giants' 6-1 loss in Sunday's Game 2 snapped a string of seven consecutive one-run games, dating back to the 2003 postseason. In this year's six playoff games, Giants pitchers allowed just 15 earned runs and struck out 68 batters -- 51 of them by the four starters.

Lincecum and Sanchez have been in double digits. Cain struck out six in his only postseason start, in San Francisco on Oct. 8 in Game 2 against the Braves in the NL Division Series. Lincecum set a franchise postseason record with 14 strikeouts in Game 1 of that series, and Sanchez whiffed 11 in Game 3. The Giants struck out 13 Phillies in Game 1's 4-3 victory on Saturday night. Lincecum had eight of them.

Cain wasn't the pitcher of record in the Giants' only loss of the opening round. He had a three-run lead upon leaving with two out in the seventh after allowing a single to Omar Infante. Cain did his job, Bochy said, just as he expected him to do. The Braves recovered to win, 5-4, on Rick Ankiel's 11th-inning homer.

Because of the vagaries of the postseason schedule, Cain will have 11 days off between starts.

"Matt's been throwing," Bochy said. "He's been getting his work in. It's part of the schedule. It's been a while since their guy's thrown, too, so you're on a level playing field there. Just like it was ... before we started playing [this series]. I thought it was pretty impressive how the two teams played that first game [on Saturday] despite the time that we had to wait to play that game."

No matter. Cain was 13-11 during the regular season with a 3.14 ERA in 33 starts, and now he has at least that one postseason start under his belt.

What did Cain learn from it?

"I think you just learn to maybe slow down some of the key situations in the game," he said. "You try to take advantage of taking control of the game when have guys on base and counts aren't in your favor. You just try to figure out ways to slow the game down to get back to the pace that you want it to be at to try to get the momentum back on your side instead of the hitter's advantage.

"It's definitely exciting to be able to start off these three games at home. It will be fun to be able to get this thing started in front of our home crowd."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.