Can it be so? Matt Cain getting run support? Pitching below his standard but getting some good luck? I love it! The Pirates were rakin' it tonight, MC got some park help and some relief help and kept it close. The improbable rally took me by surprise, but it was the lowly Pirates after all. Despite their ownage of us, they are still lowly.
Matt Cain has made 100 major league starts. I took his career totals (subtracting out his one relief appearance and adding in tonight's numbers) and divided them by 100.
His "average" start (IP/H/ER/R/BB/SO) is thus:
6.29 5.31 2.74 2.62 2.67 5.38
Here is the same scheme for Cole Hamels (I know, he's a lefty, but he's 24 and in the NL), who has made 80 career starts (IP/H/R/ER/BB/SO):
6.48 5.55 2.69 2.46 1.71 6.20
And the same for Jake Peavy, 196 career starts.
6.33 5.45 2.42 2.28 2.03 6.35
Then, for comparison, I "normalized" all the numbers to an even 6 IP.
Cain, Hamels, Peavy, 1-2-3:
6.00 5.07 2.61 2.50 2.55 5.13
6.00 5.14 2.49 2.28 1.59 5.74
6.00 5.17 2.30 2.16 1.92 6.02
Matt Cain, as we know, needs to cut down his walks. The other boys have the edge in strikeouts, but otherwise our young lad stacks up quite favorably, eh?
Baseball-Reference gives MC an ERA+ of 118 for his career. This is a saber-stat supposedly adjusting for park factors and relating the pitcher's ERA to the league-wide ERA. 100 is average. MC is 18% better than the league norm. Hamels comes in at 134, Peavy at 122, both very impressive.
Obviously Matt Cain is a valuable commodity. He could return a lot to the club in a trade this off-season. I would hate to see it happen, naturally, despite our desperate need for bats. (The "big bomb" sure made the difference tonight, eh? And Pablito's idiot savant baserunning!) We've talked about trading Cain before, but only briefly. My answer is no--you can't give up on a guy about to turn 24 with his track record. You cannot gamble on the return in a trade--you won't get your money's worth (esp. w/ Sabean at the helm). Far more likely? I hate imagining it, but the next few years will seem familiar to Twins fans: Tim Lincecum becomes San Francisco's Johan Santana.
The big news, of course, is that CONOR GILLASPIE has been added to the roster. He is 21 and has only a few dozen professional games under his belt. The Wild and Wacky 2008 SFG's!!!!!!!!!!