Sunday, March 23, 2008

Giants 8, Brewers 1, March 22nd

The Giants not only won their second game in a row yesterday, they also received a second straight excellent pitching performance. This time it was from Matt Cain, who threw even better than Barry Zito did the day before. Sure Matt gave up 3 more hits than Zito did, but his 8 strikeouts more than made up for that as he overpowered Brewer batters with his fastball, and froze them with his curveball. The fact that 5 of his strikeouts were of the swinging variety and 3 were where the batters were caught looking illustrates this.

I read where Bruce Bochy had this to say to about Cain's outing. ""He had some long innings," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Cain. "I thought he did a good job keeping his concentration."" I don't know what game Bochy was watching, because I thought Cain was about as economical with his pitches as I have ever seen him be. The notoriously slow starter needed only 15 pitches to get out of the first, after allowing a 1 out single, but having the runner gunned down on a caught stealing by a beautiful throw from Benjie Molina. In the 3rd and 4th innings, Cain was even more economical as he took only 9 pitches to complete each inning. The only inning where he had a high pitch count was in his last inning (the 6th) when he threw 25 pitches and had the only inning where he allowed 2 men to reach base (including the only walk he gave up all day). Even with the long 6th inning, Matt threw a total of only 88 pitches (60 for strikes) and finished the inning with back-to-back strikeouts. Those of us who have seen Matt regularly reach the 100 pitch count through 5 innings or so are perfectly happy with Matt throwing this many "long innings" all year long. He also only allowed 2 batters to reach as far as 2B (1 to third) and faced more than 4 batters in an inning only once (the 6th) I am not sure where the test was that required him "keeping his concentration". Sometimes the things the Giants coaching and management staff have to say just leaves me scratching my head and saying "HUH?".

Add all of the above to the fact that Cain gave up ZERO extra base hits on the day. Of the 5 hits he allowed, one was on a bad hop that got by Rich Aurilia at 3B, another was on a ground ball that ticked off the glove of SS Brian Bocock, and a third was on a little flair over the secondbaseman's head. The only criticism I have for Cain's effort was that I think the bad hop in the 5th might have broken his concentration a little. Cain threw back-to-back wild pitches to allow the runner to reach 3B......although Benjie Molina should have been able to stop one of the 2 WPs. I have no problem in saying that Matt Cain clearly dominated the Brewers in the best performance by a Giants' pitcher thus far.


Anonymous said...

GF9: I assumed Bochy meant because of how long that bottom of the 4th was for Cain. Thanks to how bloody slow Vargas was, Cain had to have been out on the bases for 15 minutes. It was hot enough in the stands, it had to really exhaust Cain to be out in that direct sun for so long...

Giantfan9 said...

He had SOME long innings implies more than one....keeping concentration implies while pitching. I stand by my original interpretation....what game was Bochy watching?

But you are right. Vargas is a human rain delay on the mound.