Friday, February 20, 2015

Oh, Matty Boy

Oh, Matty Boy, the fans, the fans are calling
From blog to blog, and down the City's 'hoods,
The winter's gone, and all the cacti blooming,
'Tis you, 'Tis you must go and give the goods  . . .

Yes, Matty darlin', there's a mountain of expectations on your broad shoulders. But you're a big, strong lad and I think ye can handle it. Seems like the Giants are counting on it as well. Since the Brian Trust has proven that they are smarter than me about all things baseball I'm going with them. They think Matty can still deliver the goods. So, I do as well. In fact, it's amazing to me that he could pitch at all with those "loose bodies" floating around in his elbow. I suppose lots of ballplayers have balky knees and twitchy shoulders and whatnot and yet play through them and still achieve on the field. Obviously the Cain of 2013-2014 was not the reliable workhorse, studly innings-eater, and big game star we got used to seeing in the previous several seasons. But he still has velocity:

From FanGraphs

 And his BABIP and batting average against have been mostly the same since he came into the league. He threw his fastball a lot less these last two seasons and his slider became a bigger part of his repertoire. I'm guessing the fastball was harder to throw due to the elbow issues and he could get more movement with the slider. Certainly teams were teeing off on balls that they normally would have popped up or hit routine flies, so something was amiss. Strikeouts went down, walks went up, and homers happened. We could all see that. Cain is the type that would never admit he had physical issues so I was actually relieved when he was DL'd and went for surgery. I figure if he can get the fastball back on track and get that natural break on the two-seamer working the rest will fall into place. He's still young (turns 31 in October) so it's hard for me to believe he's already in his decline phase. And he has that nice, simple delivery so I imagine mechanical "tweaks" are pretty easy with him. I'm optimistic, of course. Matt is my favorite player (duh!) so I'll admit that emotion is winning out over logic here. But for the bulk of Cain's career he has been Mr. Dependable and I think that betting on the bulk--the norm--and not outliers is the smart move here.


. . . for we'll be here in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh, Matty Boy, oh Matty Boy, we love you so . . .

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.


p.s. I'm sure you all saw the story about Boch being hospitalized. Let's hope he's OK and ready to rumble. Over the years I've learned that most managers have a fairly neutral impact on the game and that there are a small few who can really screw things up. Then there is that very special even smaller group that can actually make a positive difference. Bruce Bochy is one of those in the rarefied air. The Giants have had a great team with lots of talent but there's no way they win three titles without their field general. Get well, soon, man.

p.p.s. I've done a few book reviews on this site over the years. Publishers sometimes send me freebies ("advance review copies" in the jargon) with the understanding I'll post about them. Recently an author I know sent me an ARC of his novella that is set in San Francisco and has a Giants-Dodgers series as the backdrop. I've only done baseball (non-fiction) books before, this will be my first foray into fiction. I'll post something Sunday or Monday. I think you'll be intrigued.

12 comments:

Zo said...

Pretty much full speed

JC Parsons said...

I completely agree that expectations are high, yet I have nearly absolute confidence that Matt will crush them. He is far down my worry list and I suppose that is not fair. It is just that he oozes poise and class so I figure he is capable of pretty much anything. Yeah, I've got a big man crush, not as bad as MOC of course.

Brother Bob said...

You know when MOC is feeling it, when he gets all Irishy with lots of "boy-ohs" and such. What's our other word? Schpilkes? A healthy Matt Cain is a worthy subject for a little giddiness. He's a wonderful young man, one of the best Giants ever.

JC Parsons said...

That is funny, Bro. I was thinking almost the exact same thing. When Mark gets all excited the posts take on a damn heavy accent. Sometimes I don't catch that right away, then I have to go back and read it all Irished up so that it makes sense. Heehee. Come on, who says "ye"??

Thank Willie, we have at least one talented writer on "staff" here at RMC. I know a lot of us anxiously look forward to everything you put up here (and other places too). Keep up the good work, MOC.

M.C. O'Connor said...

After I posted I thought maybe I'd used that "Danny Boy" shtik before. But hey, if it worked once . . .

A guy once told me you can use a gag three times max in one show. By the fourth time the audience won't buy it. But this is baseball, you can trot out the same tropes over and over again and no one gets tired of them!

Man it would be awesome to see the three headed beast of Tim, Matt, and Madison again. Wow, makes my head reel. Last hurrah for Timmeh--he's a free agent next year.

nomisnala said...

Anything could happen. Of course it is baseball. Line drives come at pitchers heads and screw-up their careers. But for me, during this off season, Matt Cain was not a worry. I felt odds on, that he would probably have a big season. Of course I could not guarantee that, but I expect it.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I expect a three headed ace to come out of the bunch we got. Odds on Bumgarner, Cain, Lincecum, but I expect ace like performance from Peavy too. And as we saw from Hudson last season, he could deliver too.

Of course, that is in a perfect world. But with so many possibilities, I expect a threesome to come out if that bunch, at minimum. And if four of them are doing it, the experts not thinking much of the Giants chances will have egg on their face again. Much like 2014, 2012, and 2010.

Zo said...

Mark may be channeling John Candy, "When I find something that works, I stick with it!"

I have managed to convince myself, that, barring injury, our pitching will be fine. That frees up time to worry about the hitting.

nomisnala said...

I agree with Zo. I have more worries about the lineup especially if one of the big 3 goes down, ie; Pence, Posey, or Belt. Who on some teams would be fill in players around a superstar stud. On the giants they are the studs, and on the giants the surrounding players are Panik, Mchehee, Crawford, Aoki, Blanco, and somewhere inbetween stud and filler player if Pagan, at least when he is healthy. The backup players like Arias, Adrianza, Perez Duffy, are probably okay. Susac is potentially a stud in the making. Sanchez, is a potential sleeper.

campanari said...

Will nomisnala mention a few teams on which Posey, Belt, and Pence would the three of them be fill-in players around a super star or stud? I'm having trouble thinking of those teams and their supernal studs.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Yeah I think Posey qualifies as a superstar stud!

Chris Lowry said...

Busters' hitting on thursday looked great right out of the box.