Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Cain & Crew Get It Done

SF 6 AZ 2
Matt Cain walked off the mound after 13 unlucky pitches in 6th inning tonight in San Francisco to a warm ovation from the home crowd. It was a redemptive performance of sorts for the big righty, he only lasted five innings, but he allowed just one run--in the 1st, mind you--and actually left with the lead, striking out six of the 23 batters he faced. As impressive as his start was, and yes the bar has fallen for the once-formidable ace, it was his booming double with one out in the bottom of the 5th that got the go-ahead rally started. Jon Miller was particularly inspired by Cain's blast, saying he "obliterated it." Denard Span hit a single to center and Giants nemesis AJ Pollock hesitated just enough for Phil Nevin to give Matty the go sign and he scored easily. You have to love a pitcher who ties the damn game! After a Brandon Belt walk, Hunter Pence singled to score Span, and Conor Gillaspie singled to drive in Belt and make it 3-1.

When Cain left in the 6th the issue was very much in doubt but Cory Gearrin struck out the three batters he faced (with two men on and no outs, mind you). It took 13 lucky pitches but he got three swinging whiffs. Now that's relief pitching! I was expecting an Old School Caining and was actually sanguine about the notion, after all, Matty losing (or ND'ing) close games happened all the time when he was a stud. So I figured if the Giants lost a nail-biter I'd be OK with it, just for the good news about Cain. But George Kontos got it done in the 7th, Nick Hundley blasted a double in the bottom half to drive in BCraw and make it 4-1, Panik walked, and Jarrett Parker got the cathartic rocket launch that should have been a homer but was instead a triple to make it 6-1.

Derek Law had some room to work with and he took it, but he kept the lid on and Hunter Strickland got the honors in the 9th with a four-run lead and he made it quick. The 6-2 final was a team effort par excellence. The Giants win a series for the first time in 2017 and they beat the hottest team in the division to do it. It's been a rocky start for our beloved boys so let's enjoy the big wins. I hope everyone is stoked about Matty's performance. Maybe he can be like Barry Zito was in 2012, sort of a talismanic presence that creates wins. After all, BZ was the same guy all the other years he pitched in orange-and-black, but that season all the cards fell in order and he scored big. A fella can dream, eh?

Madison Bumgarner tomorrow night against the Rockies.




Brother Bob said...

Cain started off shaky and I immediately lamented how much he's fallen, wondering why he could still be in a ML rotation, etc. Then he got a lot better, with a big hit to boot. So you never know. Well I sure don't.

nomisnala said...

Hundley had him throwing more curve balls in key situations. Also Cain was really squeezed by the home plate ump. Is there some bad blood there? Parker, and later Pence were called out on strikes, that Cain only wished were strikes when he was on the mound. Good job, Mr. Cain, especially in a squeeze situation.

JC Parsons said...

As Bro mentioned, the start of this one was hard to take and triggered a flood of Cain pessimism. But then he took charge. He mixed it up and got them off balance. Matt looked really good for a while. I think he was genuinely pissed at being pulled in the sixth. A couple guys got on but I bet he could have dealt with it. It truly was an important lesson to be patient and keep our cool. Like you said, you never know.

He really hit that ball hard too! Speaking of which, MadBum tonight! Isn't cool to have a pitcher that is exciting to watch hit?

M.C. O'Connor said...

Another great piece from Joe Sheehan at FanGraphs which you should all read. There I go, saying "should" and I hate doing that, I spent 30 years telling teenagers what they "should" do! Anyway, he talks about the evolution of the game, and pace-of-play, and other good stuff. Worth the read as we have all watched the game long enough to see all these changes, makes you wonder what the game will be like in ten or twenty years.

Russian River said...

OK.....We're supposed to talk baseball, but I digress. What a day for Bay Area teams!

Warriors 109 - Lakers 94
San Jose Sharks 3 - Edmonton Oilers 2 (OT)
Oakland A's 8 - Kansas City Royals 3
SF Giants 6 - Arizona Diamondbacks 2 - Did Matt look good or what?

Need I say more! The remote got a work out last night.

Zo said...

I would like to point out that we have seen darn good pitching from our 1 - 5 starters in the past 5 days. We have 3 victories as a result.