Tuesday, October 30, 2012

25 for 16: Matt Cain

Twenty-five Giants played sixteen post-season games to claim the 2012 World Series Championship. One of those players was Matt Cain. Ten teams were in the tournament, 102 different pitchers participated, and Cain led everyone of them in starts (5), innings pitched (30), batters faced (125), and pitches thrown (475). He also allowed the most hits (27), runs (12), home runs (6), and total bases (48). His regular season line for opposing batters was .222/.274/.361. His post-season line was .237/.304/.421. Better teams, better hitters, a couple of friendly parks, it's not surprising. Matt set a high standard for himself in 2010, only allowing one run (unearned) in his 21-1/3 IP. Those three starts were at home--this year he added two road starts to his load. He was "the horse" after all, and that's what your horse has to do, carry the biggest load. Cain threw eight starts with Game Scores of 70 or higher in 2012, none of those in the playoffs. His Game Score Average for the regular season was 60.6, with a career mark of 57. It was 53.7 (48, 48, 51, 62, 58) for the post-season. He was more workmanlike, having to grind it out against determined foes for all the marbles. I should note that Matty hit the most batters (4), and the Giants staff led the way as well (8). I guess if you want to lead in team shutouts (4), you have to pitch inside.

Matt had the distinction of starting the opening game of the post-season and the closing one. He also started the clinching game in each series. Those worked out well. Having a guy like Cain is awesome--you stick him out there and he does the job. He out-pitched Mat Latos in Game Five of the LDS, he out-pitched Kyle Lohse in Game Seven of the LCS, and he out-pitched Max Scherzer in Game Four of the World Series. If it weren't for a friendly gust adding 30 feet to fly out to right field, Matty's line (7 IP, 1 ER) would have been dominating, not merely good. But there's something to be said for being merely good over and over again. Toss in an occasional dominating and you got yourself a hell of a ballplayer. And that's who we got. We got Cain. For five more years. And he's a hell of a ballplayer.


p.s. Did I mention the two hits and one RBI?

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