Matt Cain brought an end to the second inning of the season with a flourish, giving up only two runs on three hits to the powerful Braves lineup. The Giants finally solved their nemesis Tim Hudson, sending him to the showers with a six-run 4th inning. It was a good comeback for the club after a lackluster opening to the series. The Giants went 11-7 in the first 18 games of the season, and followed that with a 10-8 record over the next 18. Their 21-15 record overall puts them in a tie with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The .583 win percentage trails St. Louis (.647) and Atlanta (.600) in the National League. Last year the Giants never did worse than 9-9 in a seasonal inning.
After 8 starts, Cain's line looks ugly: 50 IP, 29 runs, 10 HR. Strikeouts (7.7/9) and bases on balls (2.7) are OK, within career norms, but those long balls are an outlier. Matt has averaged about 18 gopher balls per year since he became a full-time starter and his career number is 0.8 HR/9 (139 in 1586-2/3 IP). What does it mean? I don't know. It's a lot of homers. Then again, take a look at Jim Hunter, the HOF Catfish: 1.0 HR/9, or 374 in 3449-1/3 IP, including leading the league twice with 39 in 1973 and 28 in 1976. What does it mean? I don't know. Good pitchers can give up home runs and still be good, I suppose. It will be good to see Matt give up a few fewer going forward. Otherwise, he looks a lot like Matt Cain lately, and that's got to be good.