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10/17/12 3:09 PM ET

Matheny honored to be part of Cain's early career

ST. LOUIS -- As Mike Matheny wrapped up his catching career with two seasons in San Francisco, his path intersected that of a budding young right-hander who had been taken in the first round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.

Three years after that Draft, Matheny caught Matt Cain's Major League debut on Aug. 29, 2005, and he went on to be his batterymate in five of the next six starts Cain made during his first season with the Giants. Matheny began the '06 season as Cain's primary catcher, too, before concussions ended his season -- and career -- prematurely.

Cain has since become a perennial All-Star, a staff ace, and he added a perfect game to his list of accomplishments in June. It was the first perfect game in San Francisco history. On Wednesday, Matheny, now manager of the Cardinals, prepared to watch Cain, San Francisco's Game 3 starter, from a different vantage point.

"[I've] always been a big fan of Matt and the way he has gone about his business," Matheny said before Wednesday's game. "Even as a young player, a lot like I talked about a young [Chris] Carpenter and Roy Halladay in Toronto, I saw the same sort of makeup in Matt Cain. The stuff was very obvious, but just the makeup and how he held himself together on the mound, much more mature than his age at the time. He's had a very, very nice career. And [he is] somebody that I have a lot of respect for, and [it] is an honor to be a part of his early career."

In two starts against the Cardinals this year, Cain allowed 16 hits and nine earned runs in 11 2/3 innings.

Cardinals ready to move past slide incident

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals say "Slidegate" is a dead issue.

But Matt Holliday's tough takeout slide of Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series remained a topic of discussion on Wednesday in the hours before Game 3, after being replayed, dissected and debated for two days.


Scutaro, who later exited Game 2 with a left hip injury, was back in the starting lineup for the Giants. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was asked whether he was confident the matter was over and done with.

"I'd be more confident if you guys didn't keep asking about it," he said. "But it does keep coming up. So it's going to stay alive as long as it's handled this way.

"I think everything has been said that's going to be said. I thought Matt handled it the right way. I believe that the Giants have handled it in a classy way, as well, and everybody is trying to move forward. And so we're going to try to allow that to happen. But now, it's about moving forward."

Holliday was apologetic after the Cardinals' 7-1 Game 2 loss, saying he should have begun his slide a step earlier. Scutaro told reporters on Wednesday that the two had yet to talk about the matter.

Jay likely happier to be at home than most

ST. LOUIS -- They say there is something comforting about being home, but Jon Jay has taken that to the extreme in 2012. Jay's home-road splits would suggest he's thrilled to be back at Busch Stadium, where the center fielder hit .384 and posted a .453 on-base percentage during the regular season.

His numbers outside of St. Louis are hardly comparable. Jay's road batting average is .224; his on-base percentage is only .289. And in a nearly identical number of plate appearances, Jay has walked eight fewer times and struck out 13 more times on the road than he did at Busch Stadium.

"For whatever reason, right now it is trending that direction," manager Mike Matheny said. "But Jon's been such a big pickup for us as far as being able to step into that leadoff spot -- and it's nice he's done it at home. He takes the same approach on the road. He still puts together tough at-bats. I don't see any reason [for the discrepancy], and hopefully he doesn't think more [about] it than he should."

Jay's postseason numbers have so far followed the same trend. While 2-for-8 in two home playoff games, Jay has just four hits in 29 road at-bats. Still, he continues to be a fixture in the leadoff spot, which has been exclusively his since Rafael Furcal went down with a season-ending injury.

Worth noting

• Jaime Garcia was scheduled to return to St. Louis late Wednesday afternoon after flying to Birmingham, Ala., to meet with Dr. James Andrews regarding his ailing left shoulder. Garcia is expected to need surgery to address a rotator cuff strain and inflammation, but he asked for the chance to first receive another opinion.

• Now nine games into the Cardinals' postseason run, Matheny has still employed only one lineup. He stuck with the same starting eight again for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday, even though Matt Carpenter has had notable success against Cain.

While the sample size is small, Carpenter has a hit in all four of his career at-bats against Cain. But fitting Carpenter into the lineup would have forced Matheny to remove one of his corner infielders or corner outfielders, a move that the rookie manager did not see as advantageous.

• The Cardinals entered Game 3 with recent history on their side. In each of the last eight seasons, the home team has won Game 3 of the NLCS. Since 1985, 16 of the 21 teams to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven NLCS have gone on to advance to the World Series.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.