DETROIT -- The voice inside Matt Cain's head tries to tell him that Game 4 of the World Series is no big deal.
The rest of him isn't buying it.
"It's like your mind and your body, they know what's going on,'' Cain said Saturday on the eve of his second career World Series start. "They know it's going to be a big game."
Cain takes the mound against the Detroit Tigers for the first time since snuffing out the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the NLCS. Cain also finished off the Reds in the decisive Game 5 of the NLDS.
For anyone who argues that there is no such thing as a clutch player, Giants manager Bruce Bochy points to those two Cain outings and begs to differ.
"Your great players, for the most part, are the players who seem to play better when their club needs them,'' Bochy said a few hours before Game 3. "The higher the stakes, the more they elevate their game. I certainly would put Matt Cain in that class."
In all, Cain is 4-2 with a 1.83 ERA in seven career postseason starts, including 2010. He is the second pitcher in baseball history to win two winner-take-all games in a single postseason, joining the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter, who did it last season.
Oddly enough, the pitcher said he owes his playoff success to the days when the Giants weren't playing well. Cain was the victim of poor run support so often in his early days that he became a verb: Getting "Cain-ed" meant losing, say, 1-0 or 2-1.
In retrospect, all those games with no margin for error helped prepare him for this stage.
"Yeah, it definitely did,'' Cain said Saturday. "It definitely taught me how to pitch in close situations and close games, to find ways to dig yourself out of stick innings or things like that."
This will be Cain's first career start against Detroit and he has faced only four of its hitters. Prince Fielder and Omar Infante are each 5 for 18 against him (.278) while Miguel Cabrera is 1 for 6 with a home run and Jhonny Peralta is 1 for 3 with two RBI.
Cain said his plan for attacking the Tigers lineup is to focus on the top of the lineup so that Fielder and Cabrera have no runners to drive home. "It just makes it a little bit easier, stress-wise,'' he said.
Cain will be opposed by Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer, who is 1-0 with an 0.82 ERA in two starts this postseason. He has 18 strikeouts in just 11 innings.
Scherzer, unlike Cain, wasn't going to bother trying to tell his mind or body that Game 4 was no big deal.
"Oh, I absolutely relish it,'' Scherzer said Saturday. "I mean, this is the start of a lifetime to be able to pitch in the World Series. Every game in the World Series is a must-win game. What better opportunity than the one I have?"