Results tagged ‘ Matt Cain ’
There came a moment in Thursday’s game against the Rockies when I knew the Giants were going to win.
It came in the fourth inning when Matt Cain slapped a single to left to score the final run of a five-run inning, cutting the Rockies’ lead to 6-5.
To watch Cain’s knock, click here.
Right there, I knew it was in the bag.
Why? Well, it’s because, with that RBI and the subsequent 8-6 win, the Giants are now 23-0 since last May 9 when one of their pitchers records an RBI. And that includes the postseason.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the list:
- May 16, 2013 — Matt Cain, d. Rockies 8-6
- May 10, 2013 — Cain, d. Braves 8-2
- May 8, 2013 — Barry Zito, d. Phillies 4-3
- April 11, 2013 — Ryan Vogelsong, d. Cubs 7-6
- April 10, 2013 — Zito, d. Rockies 10-0
- April 3, 2013 — Tim Lincecum, d. Dodgers 5-3
- April 2, 2013 — Madison Bumgarner, d. Dodgers 3-0
- Oct. 24, 2012 — Zito, d. Tigers 8-3 (Game 1 of World Series)
- Oct. 22, 2012 — Cain, d. Cardinals 9-0 (Game 7 of NLCS)
- Oct. 21, 2012 — Vogelsong, d. Cardinals 6-1 (Game 6 of NLCS)
- Oct. 19, 2012 — Zito, d. Cardinals 5-0 (Game 5 of NLCS)
- Sept. 26, 2012 — Cain, d. Diamondbacks 6-0
- Sept. 22, 2012 — Bumgarner, d. Padres 8-4
- Sept. 14, 2012 — Santiago Casilla, d. Diamondbacks 6-2
- Sept. 11, 2012 — Bumgarner, d. Rockies 9-8
- Aug. 23, 2012 — Zito, d. Braves 5-2
- Aug. 17, 2012 — Cain, d. Padres 10-1
- Aug. 11, 2012 — Cain, d. Rockies 9-3
- Aug. 5, 2012 — Lincecum, d. Rockies 8-3
- July 21, 2012 — Cain, d. Phillies 6-5
- June 12, 2012 — Bumgarner, d. Astros 6-3
- May 18, 2012 — Zito, d. Athletics 8-6
- May 12, 2012 — Cain, d. Diamondbacks 5-2
The last time the Giants lost a game when one of their pitchers drove in a run came on May 9, 2012, when Lincecum got an RBI in a 6-2 loss to the Dodgers.
So who needs a DH?
A big sigh of relief was released by San Francisco Giants fans on Friday.
For the first time since April 21, they didn’t have to sweat out a victory as Matt Cain pitched eight solid innings and the Giants tallied a six-run fourth inning to beat Tim Hudson.
It was the second consecutive solid start from Cain, who looks more and more like he’s returning to his ace form. Here are a series of tidbits about Friday’s game.
- The Giants fans finally got a breather. It was only the third time the Giants have won a game that didn’t require a save or a walk-off win. The other two came in shutout wins in games started by Barry Zito.
- The lone two runs allowed by Cain came on a two-run home run in the fifth by Brian McCann. Sixteen of the last 20 runs Cain has allowed has come via the home run.
- McCann’s home run was the 26th time an opponent has hit a home run on the fly into San Francisco Bay. We don’t call it a Splash Hits, because those are just reserved for blasts of Giants’ bats.
- It was the first win by the Giants over Tim Hudson since April 8, 2006. Hudson had gone 6-0 with a 2.48 ERA against the Giants since then.
- Cain contributed to the six-run fourth with his first RBI of the season. Cain was the last of the five Giants starting pitchers to record an RBI.
- Including last season’s postseason, the Giants have won 22 consecutive games, dating back to May 9 of last year, in which a pitcher has recorded an RBI.
- Marco Scutaro had two hits in the fourth inning, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. He will likely get the day off on Saturday.
- The Giants improved to 4-0 at home on games played on Friday.
The Giants completed a three-game sweep of the Dodgers on Sunday night with a 4-3 win. But what’s more important — alright, at least AS important — is that Matt Cain got his first win of the year.
Cain pitched 7.1 innings, giving up one run on 5 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 4. It was his walk to Matt Kemp in the eighth that led to his exit after 109 pitches. When three relievers could not prevent Kemp from eventually scoring, that’s when Cain picked up his lone earned run.
For only the third time in seven starts this season, Cain did not allow a home run. Not too surprising since eight of the nine homers Cain has allowed have come on the road.
But it’s also important to note because prior to Sunday’s start, 14 of the previous 17 runs Cain had allowed had scored via the home run. His ERA this season on balls that did not leave the yard: 2.57 — and that includes the disastrous nine-run inning against the Cardinals on April 7.
So the morale to the story is: If Cain can keep from giving up the long ball, he’s the Matt Cain we’ve all grown to know and love.
Or is it something else? Could it be, perhaps, the Dodgers?
Consider this: Cain’s ERA this season in two starts against Big Blue: 0.68 in 13.1 innings. Against everyone else: 7.85 in 28.2 innings.
We may get a better idea after his next start, which is slated for Friday at home against the Braves, who ranked second in the NL in home runs.
After that, his next start comes against the Rockies. Colorado leads the NL in home runs, and the game will be played in Coors Field.
Here’s a breakdown of Cain’s starts this season, courtesy of Baseball Reference
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Depending on how you look at numbers, San Francisco Giants starting pitchers are actually making the grade
So when you were in school, did you prefer teachers who graded on letter grades (A, B, C, etc.) or on a strict percentage basis (100%, 90%, etc.)?
I preferred the letter-grade system. Why? Under that system, a failure is a failure. If you bomb a quiz, you regroup and come back next time.
But under the percentage system, there are degrees to failure: 50 percent, 40 percent, 30 percent, etc. If you bomb a quiz under this system, it could take you a long time to recover.
If people use the ERA as way to grade pitchers, the majority of Giants starters are failing. But ERA penalizes degrees of failure, which are very difficult to recover.
If you give up six runs in a game, you’re probably going to lose. So if you give up an seventh run, eighth run or ninth run, those runs generally don’t turn many wins into losses. But they can blow up an ERA.
And it’s easier to blow up an ERA than it is to fix it.
So let’s break down the Giants starters.
First off, we’re going to excuse Madison Bumgarner from this exercise, because’s he’s been the teacher’s pet with his 1.77 ERA. Go out and play, MadBum.
Barry Zito: 4.86 ERA, 9 ER in 16.2 IP
Eight of his nine earned runs came in 2/3 of an inning on Monday. In his other 16 innings, he’s allowed one run or an 0.56 ERA.
Tim Lincecum: 5.63 ERA, 10 ER in 16 IP
Nine of his 10 earned runs came in two innings of work. In his other 14 innings, he’s allowed one run or an 0.63 ERA.
Matt Cain: 5.94 ERA, 11 ER in 16.2 IP
Nine of his 11 earned runs came in 2/3 of an inning against the Cardinals. In his other 16 innings, he’s allowed two runs or 1.13 ERA.
Ryan Vogelsong, 7.15 ERA, 9 ER in 11.1 IP
Seven of his 9 ER came in two innings. In the other 9.1 IP, he’s allowed two runs or 2.00 ERA.
Even if you looked at the team’s ERA, which includes the bullpen, right now the Giants rank 11th in the NL with a 4.26 ERA.
But if you removed Cain’s nine-run inning and Zito’s eight-run inning, suddenly the Giants’ team ERA is 3.08 or second-best in the NL.
Bottom line, blow-up innings are rare, but damaging to an ERA. They skew the numbers. If you look harder, the Giants pitching is just fine.
When you try to put a blog post after every San Francisco Giants (except when a spring break trip takes you away from internet access), it’s sometimes a challenge to try to post something positive.
Sunday’s game against the Cardinals was one of those games.
While we can’t guarantee any of these will perk you up after Sunday’s loss, these come from our best efforts
- The pre-game ring ceremony was cool. You can watch the video of the ceremony above.
- Angel Pagan, normally a cold starter to the season, continues to hit the ball well with a double and his first triple of the season.
- After getting just two hits in their first 24 at-bats with runners in scoring position, the Giants got two hits in three at-bats with RISP in the third inning. The Giants are now 5 for 30 with RISP on the season (.167).
- Brandon Belt got his first hit of the season.
- Nick Noonan got his first career hit in the ninth inning, a neat highlight if you were determined enough to wait around to watch it.
- Even though he still hasn’t found his swing, Pablo Sandoval got two more hits.
- Guillermo Quiroz is hitting 1.000 for the season.
- Chad Gaudin pitched three shutout innings, giving up just one hit and striking out four.
- Sunday’s loss only counts as one in the standings.
- To quote Marty Feldman from “Young Frankenstein”: It could have been worse; it could have been raining.
Did any of that make you feel any better? No? Well, if it’s any consolation, Matt Cain feels worse.
For three innings, Cain had Giants fans thinking two things: “Could Matt Cain possibly through ANOTHER perfect game?” and “Watch out Orel Hershiser; Matt Cain is coming after your consecutive scoreless innings streak.”
Cain sailed through the Cardinals’ lineup the first time through — nine up, nine down on 28 pitches. Extending back into last season, it stretched Cain’s scoreless innings streak to 11 innings.
But before the fourth inning was over, all that was a distant memory. Cain’s fourth went: single and error, single, sac fly (1 run), walk, single, ground-rule double (2 runs), single (1 run), single (1 run), foul pop-out by pitcher, walk, single (2 runs).
He left with two on and two out. Beltran’s single against Jose Mijares plated two more runs charged to Cain. All totaled: nine earned runs on seven hits and two walks.
Oh well. Luckily, there’s another game tomorrow.
MoreSplashHits got up Friday thinking how great it would be to be at AT&T Park for the pre-game festivities, but at least I could watch it on TV.
Then I turned on the MLB Network, which was carrying Friday’s Giants-Cardinals game. But instead of showing the pre-game, the network decided to show Brian Kinney and Harold Reynolds blabber at each other.
OK, no problem. I’ll just go to MLB. TV. But MLB.TV also did show the pre-game, joining the broadcast right before the first pitch.
So, we’d like to thank SFGiants.com show sharing video of the highlights of Friday’s pre-game activities as the Giants raised their 2012 World Series banner.
And it almost turned out like we called it.
MoreSplashHits posted 10 prime candidates to raise the flag on Friday.
Two of them did not participate, as we expected, because they were getting ready for the game: Pitcher Barry Zito, who was warming up in the bullpen, and catcher Buster Posey, who was catching Zito.
“It would have been nice, but I also like my routine,” Posey said of joining the pre-game festivities. “It’s a balance.”
Two other players we listed did not hoist the flag, but were given another honor. NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro and World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval got to throw out the ceremonial first pitches.
As for the flag itself, it was brought in via the bay on a San Francisco fire boat. After it was carried into the stadium, it was handed to Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who walked it to the outfield wall, and passed it off to pitcher Matt Cain.
Cain carried the flag into the stands and to the flag pole, followed by five teammates — each of whom took turns in hoisting the flag up the pole:
Matt Cain — got it
Tim Lincecum — got it
Ryan Vogelsong — got it
Sergio Romo — got it
Hunter Pence — got it
Angel Pagan — DOH!!
OK, we didn’t get Pagan, but 9 out of 10 isn’t bad.
Actually, when I was compiling my list of candidates, I wanted to have five pitchers and five position players. After coming up with Pence, Scutaro, Posey and Sandoval, I needed one more.
I went with Blanco because he’s defensive plays in the postseason stuck out more in my mind. But I could have gone with several candidates like Brandon Crawford (for his defense) and Pagan.
Pagan was a solid choice for his contributions from the start of the season through the playoff run. And he just signed a four-game contract with the Giants last winter.
“This is about sharing the joy, sharing the accomplishment,” Pence said Hunter Pence. “That’s what we do it for. We do it for each other. We do it together.”
Good choices all the way around, and it was a great ceremony. Still, it would have been nice to see Buster in the mix.
“Aw, I had fun watching ‘em,” Posey said of his teammates.
Don’t feel too bad for Buster. He’ll get his time in the spotlight Saturday when he’ll be presented his MVP trophy in a pre-game ceremony.
Yikes! On the same day the Yankees lost Curtis Granderson for 10 weeks with a broken arm after being hit by a pitch, the Giants got a scare when Matt Cain took a line drive off his knee in the Giants’ 4-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
Cain hobbled around a bit after taking the liner. But made two warmup throws and remained in the game.
The results weren’t great. He gave up four runs in that first inning, although all of the runs were unearned because the rally was aided by a Brandon Belt error.
This is how Cain’s inning went:
David DeJesus flied to to center; Starlin Castro singled to center; Anthony Rizzo reached on Belt’s errant throw while trying to force Castro at second; Alfonso Soriano singled off Cain’s knee to load the bases; Nate Schierholtz grounded out on an infield nubber, scoring Castro; Dioner Navarro hits a 3-run homer; Brian Bogusevic doubled to left; Darwin Barney grounded out.
Cain came out after one inning, and had his knee wrapped in ice afterwards, but said he was fine.
“It was kind of an initial shock when you get hit,” Cain told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It takes a little bit to get the feeling back. I feel fine. It’s nothing to worry about.”
- Pablo Sandoval was told by manager Bruce Bochy that he would get to play in spring training games until the Panda got his weight down to a certain level. Sandoval hit that target weight and is the only Giant to play in both of the first two spring training games. He went 2 for 3 with a double and RBI on Sunday and is 3 for 5 this spring.
- Francisco Peguero, trying to make the club as a reserve, went 2 for 3 with a double.
- Angel Villalona made his spring training debut. He went 1 for 3, grounding to third, lining to center and adding a bloop single to left.
- Seven relievers (Steve Edlefsen, Justin Fitzgerald, Santiago Casilla, Jose Mijares, Sandy Rosario, Dan Runzler and Heath Hembree) each pitched a scoreless inning. Most notable was Hembree, who pitched around a double in the ninth. He was topping out at 89-90 mph in his first outing of the spring.
Links of the day
Madison Bumgarner takes the mound as the Giants face the White Sox at 12:05 p.m. in Scottsdale.
Six good reasons to like San Francisco Giants’ rotation order of Cain, Bumgarner, Lincecum, Zito and Vogelsong
So you’d think since we were advocating for Ryan Vogelsong to be the opening day starter that we’d be upset with Bruce Bochy’s announced rotation.
Bochy said the rotation will go like this:
- RHP Matt Cain
- LHP Madison Bumgarner
- RHP Tim Lincecum
- LHP Barry Zito
- RHP Ryan Vogelsong
But we don’t have any problem with this rotation, and here are six good reasons why we like this rotation.
NO. 1: Barry Zito earned the right to open the home opener when the Giants will hoist their 2012 World Series flag. It was Zito who saved the season in Game 5 of the NLCS with his gem in the fourth of the six elimination games the Giants faced last fall.
NO. 2: It sets up the right-left-right-left-right format in the rotation.
NO. 3: Putting Lincecum at the No. 3 slot instead of Vogelsong keeps Timmy’s fragile psyche in place. Vogey can handle being the No. 5 better than Lincecum, who has been the No. 1 guy the past four seasons.
NO. 4: The Giants have won the past 14 games started by Zito, and the Giants want to win their home opener.
NO. 5: Last weekend when Cain, Bumgarner and Lincecum started the season opening series in Arizona — not necessarily in that order — and the Giants lost all three games, it was Zito who pitched a shutout in his season debut in Colorado. Pitching in San Francisco will be much easier.
NO. 6: It’s sets up the rotation against the Cardinals exactly as it aligned in Games 5, 6 and 7 of the NLCS: Zito, Vogelsong, Cain.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday that he has a pretty good idea of who is opening day starter will be. He just needs to talk to pitcher Dave Righetti and the pitcher first before announcing his decision.
Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area said “It has to be Matt Cain.” To watch Baggs talk about it, click here.
That shouldn’t come as a shock to many Giants fans, and I doubt many would argue with that choice. Heck, even Tim Lincecum was all on board for Cain getting that nod on April 1 against the Dodgers.
Lincecum has been the Giants’ opening day starter the past four years. Before that, it was Barry Zito (2007-08), Jason Schmidt (2005-06), Kirk Rueter (2003-04) and Livan Hernandez (2000-02).
Cain has earned the nod. He’s been with the Giants since 2005. He threw a perfect game last season. He started the All-Star Game. He started the first game of the postseason last season. And he started all three clinching games last postseason.
All good reasons for going with Cainer. But I’m going to offer another choice: Ryan Vogelsong.
OK, for the entire regular season in 2012, Cain was better than Vogelsong.
- Cain: 16-5, 2.79 ERA, 219.1 IP, 193 K, 1.040 WHIP
- Vogelsong: 14-9, 3.37 ERA, 189.2 IP, 158 K, 1.228 WHIP
But we’ll offer you several reasons for Vogey.
BEFORE THE FUNK: In seven starts from Aug. 13 to Sept. 16, Vogelsong went 2-4 with a 10.30 ERA. Yikes! But before the funk, Vogelsong was the Giants’ best pitcher. He was 10-5 with a league-best 2.27 ERA. At that same time, Cain was 10-5 with 3.01 ERA. Now while we shouldn’t punish Cain for finishing the season strong, we also shouldn’t downgrade Vogelsong for an isolated slump. After Vogelsong emerged from his funk, he finished the regular season 2-0 with 1.06 ERA in his final three starts.
POSTSEASON: Yes, Cain started the first postseason game for the Giants in 2012 and he was on the mound on all three series clinchers. But, as a whole, Cain finished the postseason 2-2 with a 3.60 ERA in five postseason starts. Not bad, but no comparison to Vogelsong. Vogey went 3-0 with 1.09 ERA in four postseason starts. Cain never would have had the chance to start three clinchers if Vogelsong hadn’t kept the Giants in the game in Game 3 vs. the Reds when the Giants were being held hitless.
LAST TWO YEARS: Compare Cain and Vogelsong over 2011 and 2012, the numbers are very comparable.
- Vogelsong: 27-16 3.05 ERA
- Cain: 28-16 2.84 ERA
If you take out one disastrous start for Vogelsong — the Aug. 13 start last season vs. the Nationals when Vogelsong got tagged for eight runs in 2.2 innings — and the numbers are almost identical. Vogelsong’s adjusted numbers would be 27-15 with a 2.87 ERA.
SENTIMENT: Yes, Cain has never received an opening day nod despite eight great seasons with the Giants. But Vogelsong hasn’t even been on the active 25-man roster on opening day with the Giants, and that goes back to the 2000-01 seasons. In 2011, despite a great spring, he didn’t break into the rotation to open the season. He went to Fresno, but then got the call two weeks later when Barry Zito went on the DL. Last season, he got a late start in the spring because of back problems. That put him on the DL to open the season.
MORE SENTIMENT: Vogelsong has a great story. Traded by the Giants in 2001 in the Jason Schmidt deal, Tommy John surgery in 2001 that kept him out of the majors until 2003, out of major league baseball by 2006, pitched in Japan three seasons, signed and released by both the Phillies and Angels in 2010, signed by Giants in 2011, called up from Fresno in April 2011, earned All-Star bid in 2011 (although he never got in the game), hosed out of All-Star bid in 2012.
FUTURE IS NOW: Cain is 28. He’s under contract with the Giants through 2018. There will be plenty of chances for Cain to get the opening day nod. Vogelsong is 36. How many more opening days does he have?
GAME READY: Vogelsong will be pitching the World Baseball Classic for the USA. That means he will have pitched in meaningful games before the season starts.
VOGELSONG, DODGER SLAYER: In 2012, Cain was 1-0 with 2.73 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers. Not bad, but it can’t compare to Vogelsong, who was 2-1 with a 0.71 ERA in 25.1 innings against the boys in blue. Not only that, but all four starts Vogelsong made against the Dodgers came against Clayton Kershaw, the presumed Dodgers opening day starter. The point is to win the game, right? So why not go with Vogelsong, given the matchup.
Cain may be the “no-brainer” pick for opening day. But sometimes the right answer isn’t the obvious one.
So this might be the chance for Bochy to think outside the box.
So what do you say, Boch? Doesn’t chicken enchiladas sound great on opening day?
If the Giants are going to have success in the post-Melky era, Friday’s game at San Diego is the model for how they should go about doing it.
The Giants got outstanding pitching from Matt Cain and offensive contributions from up and down the lineup to pound the Padres in the opener of their three-game series.
For the ninth time in their past 14 road games, the Giants scored six runs or more. Not surprising, the Giants are 9-0 in those game. They are 1-4 in the other five games in that stretch. They have six of their past eight road games.
The win, coupled with the Braves’ extra-inning win over the Dodgers, pushed the Giants back into first place in the NL West by a half-game.
Every starter in the Giants’ lineup — including pitcher Matt Cain — collected at least one hit. Five Giants had multi-hit games:
- Angel Pagan was 3 for 5 with a triple
- Marco Scutaro was 2 for 5 with a home run
- Hunter Pence was 2 for 4 with a double
- Gregor Blanco was 2 for 4
- Brandon Crawford was 2 for 5 with a double, extending his current hitting streak to nine games.
Matt Cain, who watched his ERA climb in each of his four starts from July 21 to Aug. 6, put together his second consecutive quality start, holding the Padres hitless until the fifth inning and finishing with one earned run on four hits, no walks in eight innings of work. He struck out six.