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09/03/10 11:51 PM ET

Dodgers facing tough foe in Cain

For the Dodgers, time is truly of the essence.

Twenty-seven regular-season games remain for manager Joe Torre's club, which enters Saturday night's matchup against the Giants at Dodger Stadium eight games back of the National League West-leading Padres and eight behind the Phillies in the NL Wild Card standings.

"We're running out of games," said Torre, whose team has lost four of six. "We need to win -- a lot.

"The weird part of what's been going on is that we seem to beat the best pitcher on every staff, but we just can't seem to follow it up."

San Francisco right-hander Matt Cain, who will oppose Los Angeles lefty Ted Lilly on Saturday, doesn't quite have the resume of reigning two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, but the Dodgers would be best served to not overlook him.

Cain has won four of six decisions and registered a 2.66 ERA across nine second-half starts, more than pulling his weight for a Giants squad that trails the Padres by three games in the NL West and sits three behind the Phillies in the NL Wild Card race.

"When he's on," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Cain earlier this season, "he's as tough as it gets."

Manager Bruce Bochy's Giants play 21 of their final 27 regular-season tilts against NL West opponents. That's not necessarily good news for San Francisco, which is 23-28 opposite division foes in 2010.

"You're at the stage now where every win is big," Bochy said.

Giants: Sanchez wielding hot bat
Second baseman Freddy Sanchez is batting .431 over his past 17 games. ... Catcher Buster Posey has hit safely in 24 of 31 contests versus NL West competition.

Dodgers: Lilly's run halted
Prior to allowing seven runs on nine hits over four innings in Sunday's road loss to the Rockies, Lilly became the first Dodgers pitcher to win his first five starts with the team since Kaz Ishii in 2002. ... Los Angeles is 30-18 against NL West clubs. The Dodgers play 23 of their last 27 regular-season games within the division. ... Center fielder Matt Kemp has appeared in each of Los Angeles' 135 contests.

Worth noting
The Dodgers own a 231-187 record against the Giants at Dodger Stadium. ... Cain is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in two starts opposite Los Angeles this season. ... Kemp is hitting .318 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 13 games against San Francisco in 2010.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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