Sunday, May 17, 2009

(Son of) Matt Cain is one gnarly mo-fo!!

6 3 0 0 5 2

I know my readers come to RMC for wit, insight, and hard-hitting analysis that they can't get anywhere else. After Matt Cain's gritty outing, you expect a unique and original take. And here it is: M.C. is one gnarly mo-fo! How else do you explain the improbability of walking five guys--three in one inning--and throwing 114 pitches to 24 batters yet putting up six shutout innings? Not only did Matt deliver a studly RBI hit, he survived two, yes two, RVODs!! Twice Coach Righetti brought his Doom Visit to the mound, and twice Matt survived. That's gnarly.

Sure, I can give the young infield--Frandsen, Velez, and Ishikawa--a nod for fine fielding (especially Travis' 3-2-3 DP!), and I can give a hat tip to Sandoval and SeƱor Slow for some good hitting. I can even say M.C. was the luckiest SOB on the field tonight. But I'm not. Matt Cain had Gamer-ade for breakfast, and his pluck and perspicacity were totally responsible for the six zeros. Dare I say he showed VSC? After all, this is his fifth season in the bigs, so he's a veteran now, and he gets credit for savvy and clutchness.

MCain(GMF) .362 WPA 63 GSc
MPelfrey .050 WPA 52 GSc

If you split the 162 game season into 9 "innings" of 18 games apiece, tonight was the first game of the third set, or number 37. Our first "inning" we finished 9-9, recovering from a 2-7 start. Our second "inning" we finished 18-18 after reaching a high of 18-14 (.563). Two-ninths of the season is behind us. Our 54th game--one-third of the season--will be Saturday, June 6th in Florida. Let's hope we are still a .500 ballclub. If more guys embrace the power of GMF-ism, we just might be.

When David Wright was walked in the 8th, the WE for the home team stood at 67.7%. Affeldt got the DP from Pagan, and the WE shot up to 93.8%. That was the biggest play of the game in terms of a WE swing. Great work from Howry as well, bailing Cain out by getting three outs in the 7th. When you walk a lot of guys you aren't going to last. Wilson finally got it done and saved the win for M.C. Way to go, Giants!

UPDATE 0653 Monday: Andrew Baggarly suggests the nickname "The Tennessee Stud" for Matt Cain. (Hat tip to Big D at Giants Win.) According to Wikipedia, Matt was born in Alabama but "graduated from Houston High School in Germantown, Tennessee, where he earned the nickname Big Sugar."
(emphasis mine)


Bob said...

What a nice game! Matt got to show off his gnarly veteran savageness to a national audience, and the Kung Fu Panda also got showcased. The nicest thing is that the bullpen didn't give away the game after a strong start.
I think we're still perfect when we score first.

Zo said...

I saw only a small part of the game on tv - mainly because as I tuned in, Joe and Jon were yammering about leadership on the Mets, and, like, who cares? But what I did see was an outstanding defensive play by Fransen, who charged a high hopper to glove it (as he was passing) on the short hop and beat the runner to first. Very smooth.

Meanwhile, in the Chron on Sunday morning, Harry Schulman asks the question, "...are the Giants truly the plucky team that built an 18-14 record and could contend under the right circumstances or a squad with too many flaws that were exposed in three losses to the elite New York Mets?" Valid question, perhaps, but this is, unfortunately, exactly the worst way to frame the debate. The reason for that is because of where the answers lead you. If the Giants are a team that "could contend under the right circumstances" then we are talking about a trade to get us into the playoffs at the end of the summer. That suggests a pitcher (our currency) for a hitter - perhaps a proven veteran type of hitter who can help RIGHT NOW. If, on the other hand, they are "a team with too many flaws that were exposed in three losses to the New York Mets" then we are talking about many more changes and much more rebuilding to be done than we think. The problem is, both those conclusions are wrong, because neither response involves much patience, and patience is what is needed most here, especially among media writers and the lunatic fringe (whether that patience should extend to Sabean and Bochy is another matter). I am becoming convinced that the Giants have the base of a very good, competitive team. Sandoval continues to impress, particularly with his defense at third, and Burress is slowly winning me over. All the talk about when MadBum or Alderson are going to be in the rotation are way, way premature. We really need to wait at least until the trade deadline to evaluate this team, and then only make a move if it is a good deal for the Giants future (long term, not this season's future).

Ron said...

It is certainly a new era, when Mark can be generally positive after what really amounted to a sickening 4-game series. Collectively, we demonstrated some real problems during this series - and, no, I don't subscribe to the theory that the Mets are an awesome team. Anyway, good job, Mark, on avoiding the JVB (jaded veteran bitterness) & coming through with some EYE (enthusiastic youthful ebullience).

Zo said...

Well, the Mets may not be an awesome team, but they played like one this past weekend. For the first three games they hit damn near everything we threw at them. David Wright especially. It will be interesting to see how we match up against the other NL east and NL central teams. Yeah, we have some flaws.

M.C. O'Connor said...

One of the (many) things JCP is always hammering at me about it the NL West. We have a VERY weak division and thus our "playoff contender" bar is lower than it is for Milwaukee or NY. I agree, ultimately, with Zo. I'm not convinced we are "one player away" or any of that, but that patience is the key. It is a long season. We have plenty of time for Sabean to make a disastrous trade or two! I can live with rebuilding, I can't live with a panicked front office over-valuing our chances. Patience, me bhoys, patience.

Thanks, Ron, "ebullience" is one of my favorite words. I was stoked about the game. The series, not so much. They ARE a good team. Wright and Beltran are as good as it gets, Reyes is another one of those elite players, Santana is a superstar. That's a lot of talent in 4 roster spots.

Zo said...

On Thursday night, I noted that our batting order had our first baseman and outfielders hitting 5 through 8. How many times do you think that happens?