Matt came throught last night with his biggest performance of the young season. It took 35 batters and 114 pitches to get 24 outs, but Mr. Cain kept battling and kept throwing 95 mph smoke and finally (with 1-2-3 9th inning help from Brian Wilson) subdued the 'Stros. This is a lineup that features Miguel Tejada, Carlos Lee, and Lance Berkman, three guys who are better than everyone on our team, so it wasn't easy. It looked like it was going to get ugly early--M.C. needed 56 pitches to labor through the first three innings, which included a walk to the pitcher, five hits and a run after being staked to a 3-0 first inning lead. But then, with a little help from idiotic leadoff hitters, Matt got through the 4th and 5th on only 14 pitches. (What's this bunting-for-a-basehit-to-leadoff-an-inning nonsense? I love it when guys try that crap--they make OUTS come a whole lot quicker that way. I sure hope our guys don't help other teams that way. In all the years I've watched baseball, I've only seen one guy--Brett Butler--who could consistently bunt for hits. Bunts = outs. I'm surprised I have to explain this.) But back to the Ultimate Gamer, M.C. He seemed to get stronger after the quick innings. His lightning line-drive bomb to leadoff the 5th was marvelous, and he got a big strikeout after a walk in the 6th, free-swinging Tejada made a quick out to strand Berkman on deck, all of a sudden it is 4-1 after seven. Matt hit for himself in the 8th with 92 pitches under his belt, then blew away Berkman with the big heat. Lee's HR didn't faze him, nor the 2-out walk to Pence as he wasted another helpless batter with a clutch K. The 22 pitches in the 8th was his biggest total, and we've seen meltdowns at these penultimate moments before, but not last night. You want Gamer? We got Gamer. That start was all grit and determination by our young stud. We are "hella stoked" here at RMC this a.m. (Great night with the stick for F-Lew, he seems to have found his stroke again.)
n.b. Big D of GIANTS WIN points out that M.C. leads the team in SLG!