Lohse hopes to end a string of early exits for Cardinals starters in Game 3. He’s all about efficiency, avoiding extended at-bats and letting hitters get themselves out.
St. Louis has gone three straight games without a starter getting an out in the fifth inning. Matheny said travel days during the postseason lessen the burden and keep pitchers fresh. Still, he'd rather not keep making those early trips to the mound.
‘‘You have strong starting pitching, you have an opportunity to be successful,’’ Matheny said. ‘‘Otherwise, you’re fighting an uphill battle all the time and it seems like you’re constantly coming back.’’
Lohse needed just 87 pitches to complete a strong seven-inning outing his last time out. He did not get a decision in a 2-1 loss to the Nationals in Game 4 of the NL division series. Lohse worked six innings or longer and threw fewer than 100 pitches 11 times during the regular season.
‘‘It’s not really a secret: I rely on getting first-pitch strikes, getting ahead of the guys and making them hit my pitch,’’ Lohse said. ‘‘That’s my version of pitching to contact. I'm not out there trying to strike guys out. I want them out in three or four pitches and move on.’’
He'll try not to carry any extra burden into this start.
‘‘We've had our ups and downs as the rotation goes,’’ Lohse said. ‘‘You can’t put more pressure on yourself to go out there and do more. I can’t go out there and try to throw seven innings all at once.’’
Cain was ex-Cardinals manager Tony La Russa’s choice as the NL All-Star game starter in July. The right-hander hasn’t gone deep in either of his postseason starts, giving up six runs over 10 2-3 innings.
Cain struggled against the Cardinals this year, going 1-1 with a 6.94 ERA in two starts, and is 2-3 with a 4.94 ERA overall in eight starts.
Cain recalled a start in 2006 or ‘07 when Albert Pujols ‘‘took me to Big Mac Land.’’
‘‘I haven’t had a ton of starts in this ballpark,’’ Cain said. ‘‘I think the biggest thing is just making good pitches, and at times I didn’t make good pitches against these guys.’’
The Giants’ probable pitchers for Games 4 and 5 remain ‘‘TBA’’ for now according to Bochy, who said he'd reveal his choices after Game 3 depending on who he used in that game.
‘‘I have not named a starter, really, because I don’t have to right now,’’ Bochy said. ‘‘That’s my biggest reason. And we'll see what happens tomorrow.’’