Number break: Matt Cain's Game Score (101) was tied for the second-best of all time, and matched Sandy Koufax for the most strikeouts (14) in a perfect game. Sandy Fecking Koufax, lads. I mean, I know he's Dodger scum and all, but he was one of the greatest pitchers ever, and a personal fave of our man of the hour. So take a moment and appreciate the glory. It's the 22nd perfecto overall in the big scheme of things (9th in the NL), and what will be always and forever about it is what I said before. It's the first by a Giant. Christy Mathewson? Carl Hubbell? Hell, those dudes are f---. Juan Marichal? Gaylord Perry? Whatever, some of us are old enough to remember them. Matt Cain. Number 18. That's the man. That's the number. (Did I forget the 125 pitches, the most ever in a perfect game?)
I think it was Duane on the CSN-BA telecast, right at the end of the game, that reminded us that this spring started with a lot of speculation about where Cain would wind up when he became a free agent. Yankees? Red Sox? Dodgers? It was unpleasant, to say the least. Then they signed the big deal to make him the new face of the franchise--he'll be a Giant through 2017--and everything was OK. And how did Matt respond? By throwing a one-hit shutout on Opening Day. And following that up with tonight's magnificent performance, one for the ages. This is one cool cat. He's 27 and he's The Old Man. The vet. The grizzled champ. The leader. Greg Papa called Tim Lincecum "the rock star," and that's apt. Cain's the horse, they all like to say, and that works, too. He's the motor. He's a big diesel that hums along for half a million miles and never skips a beat or fails to pull a load. You'll have to forgive the redneck metaphor, I'm deep in a bottle of Tennessee Whiskey (George Dickel No. 12), appropriate stuff to drink when the Tennessee Stud takes the hill. He's the rhythm section of the band. The re-bar in the concrete. The tough outer casing on those pepperoni sticks that keeps them from going bad.
Matt Cain. Matt Cain! Matt Cain. When I run out of things to say, I just say his name. Matt Cain. It could not have happened to a better Giant. He deserves the accolades. He deserves ten runs of support. He deserves your support. But you knew that already.
p.s. Great play by Gregor Blanco. The narrative of every no-hitter or perfect game has to have a great play or two. Nice work from Arias, too. The ball Melky caught at the wall I was sure was a homer. A friendly gust off the bay or just another magic pitch from Matt Cain? No one induces the harmless fly ball out better than M.C. And that's a saber-metrical fact, yo.