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NLCS Cardinals-Giants Game 3 preview: Matt Cain vs. Kyle Lohse

By C. Trent Rosecrans | Blogger
Two of the regular season's best, Matt Cain and Kyle Lohse, go head-to-head in Game 3. (Getty Images/US Presswire)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Game 3 of the National League Championship Series features the starters with the two best seasons for their respective teams this season, as Kyle Lohse of St. Louis faces off against the Giants' Matt Cain.

Cain vs. St. Louis

Cain threw a perfect game earlier this season, but he has been far from perfect in his first two playoff starts. Against the Reds in the NLDS, Cain allowed six earned runs on 11 hits and three walks over 10 2/3 innings in two starts, losing Game 1 and winning Game 5.

More playoff coverage
ALCS: Tigers vs. Yankees
NLCS: Cardinals vs. Giants

Cain has struggled against the Cardinals this year and in his career. He was 1-1 with a 6.94 ERA in two starts against St. Louis this season, giving up five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings in a loss at Busch Stadium on Aug. 6. He's 0-2 with an 8.27 ERA in three career starts at Busch Stadium.

While he hash't pitched well against the Cardinals, Cain has at least pitched well to Matt Holliday, holding the Cardinals slugger to a .200/.277/.450 line in 47 plate appearances. Three of Holliday's eight hits against him were for home runs. Carlos Beltran is hitting .389/.450/.778 against him in 20 plate appearances, including two doubles, a triple and a homer among his seven hits. No other Cardinal has a homer off of Cain.

Lohse vs. San Francisco

Lohse didn't face the Giants this season, but he's 3-2 lifetime against the Giants with a 3.78 ERA. He hasn't faced San Francisco since April of 2011, when he allowed just one run on five hits over eight innings at AT&T Park.

This season, Lohse has been fantastic -- but even better at home, where he's 8-1 with a 2.33 ERA. His lone home loss was in June to the Royals.

Hunter Pence, a former Astro, has faced Lohse (who has pitched for both the Cardinals and Reds in the NL Central) more than any other current Giant. Pence his hitting .298/.327/.383 in 49 plate appearances against Lohse. Another NL Central veteran, Ryan Theriot, has had success against Lohse with 12 hits in 22 at-bats (.545). Theriot may be forced into the starting lineup for Marco Scutaro, who left Game 2 with a hip injury. No current Giant has homered off of Lohse.

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