Matt Cain is broken. Matt Cain is not broken. Matt Cain is broken from the stretch. Matt Cain can’t pitch with runners on base.
Matt Cain would like you to listen very carefully right now. There is nothing wrong with him.
I know this season has been hard to watch, and I understand if it’s hard to hold out optimism after we saw our Timmy hopes dashed against the rocks. But Cain recovered from a horrible first inning to dominate until the eighth.
And then, Goldschmidt. It had to be Goldschmidt, especially after he came up short in his previous at-bats. The twitters and the Greg Papas afterward were talking about Bochy’s decision to leave Jeremy Affeldt in to face Goldschmidt, and why he didn’t call in Sergio Romo. The only problem is that Goldschmidt is something like 3-7 against Romo, so it’s not obvious which would be better. As it happens, Affeldt stayed in and dished up his first homer of the year. Nitpick all you like, but sometimes when you have a great hitter like Goldschmidt, every pitcher has a bad matchup against him.
But really, Matt Cain. After the crappy first inning he allowed just three hits and no walks and struck out four, and gave up just one earned run. He yelled at the ump after the first inning – very uncharacteristic for the Horse – because he thought he was getting squeezed. Was he?
Uh yeah, a little bit. Every one of those little green triangles inside the box is a pitch that – according to this estimation of the strikezone – should have been called a strike. Given how many there are, it’s even more remarkable that he was able to overcome it and keep going as long as he did.
The real problem is the offense. Even though Angel Pagan’s numbers on the year aren’t too sparkly, the Giants sure seem to have trouble scoring without him. I’m a fan of the lineup change that Bochy made today; Posey is a bit more of an OBP guy and Panda has the power, so hopefully that will stir things up a bit. Having Sandoval back, even just 80% of him, will be a dramatic improvement over Arias/Noonan.
Other than that, the rest of the team is slumping a bit. Over the past seven days the Giants are hitting an atrocious .214/.242/.283, with just one home run. Brandon Crawford is batting an underwhelming .278/.278/.278 in the last week, while the red-hot Marco Scutaro has hit a pedestrian .235/.316/.353 over that span. How has Belt been doing? Yeah, don’t ask. With hitting like that, the whole team would get Cain’d, if they pitched well enough to deserve that label.
So in conclusion, good pitching is good. Bad hitting is bad. Keep up the good pitching and try to improve the bad hitting.
Good talk, team.