PHOENIX -- As he sat at his locker Tuesday afternoon, Matt Cain laughed as he remembered his first September in the big leagues. It was 2005, and Felipe Alou originally told the 20-year-old to relax and have fun. A couple of weeks later, the Giants found themselves three games out of first. Alou approached Cain again.
"He goes, 'Hey, now we might be playing for something, kid,'" Cain remembered.
The Giants didn't make the postseason that year, but Cain ended up being a key piece in the building of a dynasty. He won three rings, posted a 2.10 ERA in eight postseason starts, and made three All-Star teams. For those reasons and many more, the Giants will celebrate the 32-year-old this weekend.
Cain will start Saturday's game against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park. He wouldn't say if it will be his last appearance in the big leagues, but all parties know -- even if they won't publicly admit it -- that the right-hander's 331st regular-season start with the Giants will be his last for the organization.
"Its going to be a special moment for me," Cain said. "It's a moment I haven't been a part of. I'm not exactly sure what's to come after the season or next year, but this is a special moment."
Manager Bruce Bochy said it's one he has been looking forward to for a while. He has hinted for weeks that the Giants would do this for Cain.
"With what he's done for the Giants organization, he's been here since day one with me, and I wanted him to make this start at home," Bochy said. "I'm sure it's going to be emotional for him. It's important for us and for Matt to have a start there the last homestand. Matt has been great through all of this and he has provided leadership. This is going to be a special game for him and for us."
Bochy said Chris Stratton will start Friday night, meaning Madison Bumgarner is bumped from the rotation. The decision to end Bumgarner's season was not injury-related, Bochy said; he just wanted the left-hander to end his rough season on a high note. Bumgarner won at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. Johnny Cueto is tentatively scheduled to start Sunday.
Cain hasn't appeared in a game since August 31, but he threw a long bullpen session Monday afternoon. What does he have left in the tank for the final start of his 13th year with the Giants?
"We'll see -- as long as it will go," Cain said. "That's my mindset. That's been my mindset throughout my career. We go out and go as long as we can go."