The Right Spot
Matt Cain is all right with me. He has been the anchor of our pitching rotation, since his arrival on the scene in 2005. In his first start, as a San Francisco Giant, he went five innings, giving up two earned runs, and took the loss, in what was a glimpse into what it would be like to be a Giant. Great pitching, not-so-great offense. Or let’s put it this way, selectively great offense. We got 21 runs in the first two games of the Series, against the Rangers. I have to admit, if you aren’t going to do it all that often, it’s nice to pick the right spot.
Fortunately, in his next start on my birthday, September 4th, 2005, he threw his first victory against the D-Backs, and followed it up in his next start, with a complete game shut-out against the Cubs, allowing just two hits. By 2006, he established himself as a workhorse, going 13-12, with a 4.15 ERA. At one stretch there from August 12-September 14, Cain went 5-0 with a 0.21 ERA, giving up one run in forty-two innings.
His unblemished World Series ERA is mute testimony that Matt Cain rises to the occasion. He is unflappable. He is one of those stoic Southern farm boys, who seems to feel that because he is big, and can throw the ball past you, that he deserves special consideration. I have to tell you that I agree. I saw the way Drysdale and Koufax throttled the National League, back in the sixties, and it was a thing of beauty, even if the thought of the Dodgers does make me want to, well never mind.
Don and Sandy, meet Matt and Timmy. I am not suggesting that they are similar pitchers, nor am I suggesting that one pair is better than the other. What I am noticing is that two are still in the game, and two are not. And the two who are still in the game, happen to be San Francisco Giants. So that’s too bad for the Dodgers. They have their own duo in Kershaw and Billingsly. What are you going to do?
I’ll tell you what I think we ought to do: I think Brian Sabean should sign Matt Cain, most rickety tick, to a five year deal, comparable to the one that of Cliff Lee, who signed with Philadelphia, for 120 million dollars. I think this because Matt Cains do not grow on trees. He might grow into a tree, but we are not going to find another as readily as the one we have. And even if we did, he wold cost just as much. So why would we risk losing a known commodity, for that of an unknown, who is going to cost just as much?
Fans who are clamoring for a “big bat” should get a grip. They should grip their resentment by the throat, and stop to think what will happen if we get that big bat, and lose our superior pitching. We will be like all the rest of the teams that are struggling to establish an identity, that’s what we would be like. We would be like the Rockies and the Padres and the Reds and like just about every other National League team. They are all looking for young, talented pitchers.
Because pitching and defense beat big bats and home runs, especially in a ball park such as AT&T, where they have a special alley in right-center field, designed especially to bedevil opposing outfielders. We need to take advantage of what we have, and use it to establish the pace over 162 games. That’s all it takes, because with a pace you can start to pull away and then the other teams have to pick up their pace. That creates pressure, and that causes mistakes.
Let’s use our rabbits to maintain pressure on the base-paths, and keep the opposition off-balance, long enough to get ahead of the pack. Then the pack can just watch our back, which is not the same thing as having our back, but what the hack? We don’t care, because we’re going to have another World Series Crown, and with that Crown on our head, we’ll have all of NorCal to watch the Giants’ back, and the parade too. I love a parade, especially one in downtown San Francisco.