Time/Place: 9:30 p.m., AT&T Park
Pitching Matchup: RHP Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.78 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79 ERA)
Cueto quietly put together a Cy Young-worthy performance in 2012, striking out 170 hitters in 217 innings for the Reds. He struggled a bit in early September, losing three straight starts with a 8.22 ERA in those games, but rebounded to win two of his last three starts after the Reds clinched the NL Central division title. His only start against the Giants came in late June when he allowed two earned runs in six innings of work.
Cain really fell off of the radar after his perfect game on June 13th, posting a 4.40 ERA in his next nine starts. He finished off the season with a vengeance though, winning six of his last ten starts with a 2.28 ERA. He lost both of his starts against the Reds this season, allowing four home runs in the two outings. I wouldn't expect this to be the case tonight, as the weather in San Francisco is expected to dip down into the 50s.
The Giants are in a similar position as the Tigers, needing to win as many games as possible before heading to Cincinnati. Unfortunately for them, they don't have the same pitching advantage that the Tigers had. Cueto and Cain both have the ability to dominate the opposing lineup. Cain's postseason experience and crazy home/road splits should prove to be the difference tonight.
The Giants take Game 1 behind a monster performance from Cain.