I almost never watch games live, because of one thing or another. Tonight, for example, I had plans until about 9 pm, and started watching the game at about a quarter to ten. Usually my friends are pretty good about not giving anything away, because they know my crazy schedule and how much of a premium I put on watching games without knowing the final score. Today, I had three messages from friends waiting for me before I turned on the game. I did my best to shut myself away from the world, but I knew that something exciting was going to happen.
And let me tell you, knowing it’s gonna happen doesn’t diminish it in the slightest.
Matt Cain is unbelievable. He’s been my favorite Giant for years, even before he became the uncontested de facto Ace this year with Tim Lincecum’s crash and burn. His whole career he’s been the unheralded star of the franchise. He was here before Timmy, and he’ll probably be here after Timmy’s gone. He’s the ultimate captain: he’s not flashy, he’s not a loudmouth. When the team loses, he blames himself. When the team wins, he credits his teammates. Even tonight, after pitching the 22nd perfect game in Major League Baseball history, the first thing he talked about were the amazing defensive plays by his outfielders. And he’s got a mean takeout slide to break up double plays.
When the contract negotiations came to a head during the offseason, my brain and my heart were in conflict. My brain told me that there was a certain level, a specific dollar figure, where Cain was simply not worth it anymore. But my heart told me that there was no such thing. Cain needed to stay. I would’ve set up a lemonade stand on the corner of 2nd and King if it would’ve helped earn money to keep him. I would’ve commissioned an artist to design a caricature of Matt Cain to show him how silly he would look in pinstripes. He needed to stay. I love the Bumgarner contract, but I haven’t been as ecstatic about a contract as I was when Cain got his deal.
And he got a hit. Not bad for a guy who is 2 games above .500 for his career.
“And all of a sudden, nobody seems to care in this ballpark what the Giants are doing offensively.” – Duane Kuiper
But there was also offense. Way more than necessary, but the Giants exploded for 10 runs on 15 hits, the most ever scored in a perfect game. Every starter reached base, and every starter except Angel Pagan got a hit. Belt had two hits, including his second homer in two games, and as Belt has seen more success at the plate, his goofy personality has come out more in interviews.
In fact, everybody looked good against the hapless J.A. Rule. Gregor Blanco, Ryan Theriot, Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey also had a couple hits each, and Pablo Sandoval did his best impression of Vladimir Guerrero to single three times on pitches far from the strike zone.
But none of that mattered, because Matt Cain.
Also, for a team that has at times been so shaky on defense, every now and then they have games like this. Melky, Arias, and especially Blanco were fantastic.
“He is the perfect Giant to accomplish this.” – Larry Baer
Has anyone considered that maybe this is just what Matt Cain does when he gets run support?