The former first-round draftee worked to a no-decision against Arizona in his first start, but he'll have the home crowd behind him Friday. Cain, just 27 years old, is 39-35 with a 3.12 ERA at home, but he's gone 30-38 with a 3.66 mark on the road. The Giants were the same kind of team last year, notching a 46-35 record at AT&T Park and 40-41 everywhere else.
The Pirates, meanwhile, showed no such split, playing to the same exact record at home (36-45) and on the road. Pittsburgh is counting on its young roster -- led by star Andew McCutchen -- to take another step forward and perhaps compete in the jam-packed National League Central, which has had four different champions in the last four seasons.
Pittsburgh hasn't had a winning season since 1992, but it was above .500 as late as Aug. 1 last season. Now, the Pirates are looking for consistency, a quality that's usually tied to a deep and talented pitching staff. Pittsburgh's starters have pitched into the sixth inning in five of their last six games.
McDonald is coming off a gutty start against the Phillies, in which he escaped multiple jams and gave up only two runs in six innings for the no-decision.
Wind is often a factor in San Francisco, and it may also be wet Friday. According to Weather.com, the local forecast calls for a 50 to 60 percent chance of rain at game time Friday, but there's still a pretty good likelihood that the teams will play. There have only been five games ever rained out at AT&T Park, and there haven't been any since April of the 2006 season.
Fifteen of the 25 players on San Francisco's Opening Day roster are considered homegrown prospects, an increase of five over last season. Pittsburgh has 11 players returning from last year's Opening Day roster and can slowly see the team maturing. The Pirates' average age is 28.4, the team's highest average since Opening Day in 2005 (28.9)
Pirates: McCutchen vexed by Giants
McCutchen has hit safely in four straight games, going 3-for-3 in Thursday's game against the Dodgers, but he'll be facing a team that has handled him pretty well thus far in his brief career. McCutchen is a career .208 hitter (15-for-72) with 19 strikeouts in 18 games against San Francisco, his lowest batting average against any NL team.
So far this season and up to the last game of the Pirates' current nine-game road trip, the team will alternately face right- and left-handed pitchers every game. When the team faces Arizona right-handers Ian Kennedy and then Daniel Hudson on Wednesday, it'll be the first time the Pirates see consecutive same-side pitchers this season.
"I don't think that's disruptive. It's just an opportunity for others to get involved," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "In a couple spots we might mix-and-match, just looking for different ways to generate some offense."
Giants: Wilson not lights-out
San Francisco closer Brian Wilson has given up runs in each of his first two appearances, and he turned a three-run lead into a distressing high-wire act in Thursday's win over Colorado. Wilson gave up a leadoff double and a single in the ninth inning, and after striking out Wilin Rosario, the Rockies managed to load the bases on a single by Jason Giambi.
Wilson got one batter to line out, though, and after a run-scoring walk during which he rolled his ankle, he ended the game by coaxing a fly ball from Marco Scutaro. Despite the escape, Wilson has worked hard both times out this season. The three-time All-Star threw 24 pitches in his season debut Wednesday, and he came back to throw 32 more -- 18 for strikes -- Thursday.Worth noting
The Giants avoided a 1-5 start with a victory Thursday, and they've lost five of their first six games just four times in franchise history.
Despite the slow start, San Francisco has scored at least four runs in each of its first six games. The Giants haven't bettered that feat since 2003, when they scored at least four runs in all of their first nine games.
The Pirates have played with a lead for one inning out of the 55 innings they have played thus far.