SAN FRANCISCO -- Though manager Bruce Bochy declined to name his starting pitcher for Wednesday's Game 3 of the National League Championship Series at St. Louis, all signs pointed to Matt Cain receiving the assignment.The most obvious sign was the package of Giants pregame notes, which listed Cain as the Game 3 starter. Cain, who started Games 1 and 5 in the Division Series against Cincinnati, has developed into San Francisco's staff ace. He will not have received his normal four days' rest until Tuesday, which happens to be an open date in the NLCS schedule. Thus, Game 3 would be the earliest day Cain could pitch. With Cain pitching Game 3, he will have his full four days' rest in time to start Game 7, if it becomes necessary. Cain, 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA in his pair of Division Series starts against Cincinnati, was 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA during the regular season. He faced St. Louis twice this year, posting a 1-1 record with a 6.94 ERA. For his career, Cain is 2-3 with a 4.94 ERA in eight starts against St. Louis.
Giants coach Kelly sidelined by concussion
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants will be without first-base coach Roberto Kelly for at least the first two games of the National League Championship Series as he recovers from a concussion sustained during Saturday's workout.
Manager Bruce Bochy said before Sunday's NLCS opener that assistant hitting coach Joe Lefebvre will take Kelly's spot on the field.
Kelly was struck by a line drive from Buster Posey, who was taking batting practice, as Kelly stood around second base while batting ground balls to outfielders. Kelly was released from the hospital Saturday night, though Bochy said Kelly wasn't able to get much sleep. The Giants had initially said Kelly would be on the field as long as he was medically cleared.
Giants make no roster changes for NLCS
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants decided to stand pat with their 25-man active roster for the National League Championship Series, which they announced hours before Sunday's Game 1 vs. the Cardinals at 5 p.m. PT on FOX.Though manager Bruce Bochy mentioned the possibility of dropping a pitcher and adding a position player, the Giants retained the same contingent that got them past the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Division Series. "We decided it worked in the first series. Let's not change anything," Bochy said. Speculation had revolved around reliever Guillermo Mota, who yielded two runs and four hits in one inning spanning two Division Series appearances. But the Giants stuck with the 39-year-old right-hander, who surrendered two runs in his final 13 regular-season outings. "Mota had his struggles, but we still have confidence that he's going to come back and get on track," Bochy said.
San Francisco will enter the NLCS with 12 pitchers, two catchers, seven infielders and four outfielders. The roster includes:
Pitchers (12): Jeremy Affeldt, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Santiago Casilla, George Kontos, Tim Lincecum, Javier Lopez, Jose Mijares, Mota, Sergio Romo, Ryan Vogelsong, Barry Zito.Catchers (2): Buster Posey, Hector Sanchez. Infielders (7): Joaquin Arias, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Aubrey Huff, Pablo Sandoval, Marco Scutaro, Ryan Theriot. Outfielders (4): Gregor Blanco, Xavier Nady, Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence.
Broadcaster Buck hustles for NFL-NLCS double dip
SAN FRANCISCO -- A jogging Joe Buck made his way into AT&T Park around 10 minutes before the start of the National League Championship Series opener, ready to take on the second part of his unusual Sunday doubleheader.
Buck called the Giants-49ers football game for FOX at Candlestick Park earlier Sunday, and after the game ended at around 4:30 p.m. PT, Buck made the seven-mile trek in around 35 minutes on a police-escorted motorized cable-car trolley in order to be in the broadcast booth in time.
"I feel fine," Buck said as he waited for the elevator at AT&T Park to bring him to the broadcast booth. "I can't act like I'm playing in any of these two games or anything. I'm just talking, and hey, I can talk all night."
Buck said he had never participated in such a rushed two-game broadcast set, but that he wasn't going to miss a chance to call the opener to the NLCS when the schedule provided the opportunity.
"It's fun, and I was looking forward to this game all day," Buck said. "The focus is on these games, and if I weren't to be able to make this game, the two teams would still play and nobody would care."
Giants-Cards NLCS an unprecedented matchup
SAN FRANCISCO -- This year's National League Championship Series is historic in more ways than the comebacks that got the competitors here -- the Giants with three straight road wins, the Cardinals with four runs in the ultimate ninth inning.Turns out, this is only the fifth postseason series to pit winners of the previous two World Series. Not even the participants commenting on the challenges posed by the pairing were aware of how rare it was. "These are going to be great games," said San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval. "Nothing will be easy. These are two guys who've been there before and are going to fight to be there again." "I see a knockdown, drag-out series ahead of us," said St. Louis manager Mike Matheny. "We're looking at two well-rounded teams. The Giants have all the components needed for winning baseball -- but we look in the mirror and see a pretty good club, too." Three of these five reunions have included the Redbirds: 1928 World Series ('27 champ Yankees vs. '26 champ Cardinals).
1943 World Series ('41 champ Yankees vs. '42 champ Cardinals).
1958 World Series ('56 champ Yankees vs. '57 champ Braves)
2005 ALDS ('04 champ Red Sox vs. '05 champ White Sox).
2012 NLCS ('10 champ Giants vs. '11 champ Cardinals).
The Giants have had their postseason problems at home -- as reflected by their recent 0-2 start in the NLDS -- but it's noteworthy that on the eve of the NLCS, four of their last six playoff wins in AT&T Park have been by shutout. That run dates back to 2-0 over Florida in the 2003 NLDS opener. AT&T Park: "Triples Alley," yes; bandbox, no. Not surprisingly, then, the Giants had nearly matching triples (29) and homers (31) totals at home. That fact contributed to the Giants being only the seventh team to make the postseason after ranking dead last in homers (with 103, they trailed the No. 29 Dodgers by 13). All four managers still standing in the 2012 postseason were catchers during their playing careers: Bochy, Matheny, Joe Girardi and Jim Leyland (although he never ascended above the Minors). The closest recent precedent occurred in 1982, and with an asterisk: The Angels' Gene Mauch, the Brewers' Harvey Kuenn, the Cardinals' Whitey Herzog and the Braves' Joe Torre all played various infield positions during their careers.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Jay Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.