Cain Eliminates Rockies
I was going to write about Matt Cain’s big day yesterday, but it was done better here and here. Still, I thought it would be worthwhile to post a couple of parts from Albert’s and Jack’s pieces. First, Jack:
Cain had some help, particularly from home runs by Freddy Sanchez and Cody Ross, but Cain’s fantastic performance stands tallest for the Giants. Over a complete game, Cain only allowed two runs – a Melvin Mora pinch hit home run in the 8th inning. The Rockies could only muster two more hits and a walk off Cain while striking out eight times.Not only was Cain brilliant, but he was brilliant in the context of a close game. He took the 2-0 lead staked to him by the Sanchez home run and ran with it. The Rockies were within three until the 7th inning, and then after the Mora home run, Cain had to shut the door on a potent Rockies offense in the 8th and 9th. Overall, Cain earned a whopping +.469 win probability added in the start – as a total of +.500 is required for the team to win the game, you can almost say that Cain won the game by himself.
And now Albert, and I’m going to snip it almost to death, so read the whole thing:
Cain has been able to keep the HR/FB ratio down from 8.4% last season to 6.4% this season, reducing his HR/9 from 0.91 to 0.77. Dropping to 7.06 K/9 from 8.45 K/9 in his first full season (back in 2006) may be a concern, but overall, Matt Cain is enjoying the best season of his career in terms of FIP, with a career low mark of 3.54. Yesterday, Cain was able to induce 13 swinging strikes using all four of his pitches: four-seam fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup.
All effective pitchers will avoid the three ball count as much as possible, and Cain has thrown 38 3-0 pitches all season in 210.1 IP.
It’s interesting to note that Cain rarely uses his changeup against LHH on the first pitch (12.5%), but uses it more frequently in every other count (up to 33.7% with a 1-1 count) except when there are three balls.
Cain flies under the radar every year (not helping is this guy), but in almost 1100 career innings, he’s got an ERA of 3.41; he’s also pitched at least 190 innings and made at least 31 starts in each of his first five full seasons. Matt Cain is the real deal, with talent to do things like lock down really good lineups. If the Giants can find a way into the playoffs, facing Lincecum and Cain four times in a series (and Jonathan Sanchez) will not be fun for the opposing lineup.