Giants make sensible move with Cain
Early Thursday morning, Sept. 30
SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants’ decision to move Matt Cain ahead a day in the pitching rotation so he can start Friday night’s opener of the climactic series against the San Diego Padres made complete sense.
The move wasn’t engineered solely to give Cain his usual four days’ rest. He actually has started almost as often on five days’ rest (14 times) this season as he has with four days in between (16). He owns a better record on four days’ rest (8-5) than on five (4-5). But Cain’s ERA and WHIP (2.57, 0.982) on five days’ rest are superior to his corresponding figures on four days’ rest (3.34, 1.153).
One reason to hasten Cain’s start by a day is to maximize the Giants’ chances of winning the first game and establishing control in the series. He has been San Francisco’s best pitcher since the All-Star break, as the club has captured 12 of his 14 starts. Personally, he’s 7-2, 2.48 in that span, compared to 6-8. 3.34 before the break.
The shift also keeps Cain and Tim Lincecum separated by two days in their respective turns. When it comes time to set the postseason pitching rotation, it’ll be that much easier for manager Bruce Bochy to make one little tweak and schedule them back-to-back — unless he and the rest of the braintrust decide that continuing to separate them with a left-hander throws enough different looks at the opposition.
Bottom line: These days, when Cain pitches, it seems like a sure win for the Giants.
You, Joe or Josephine Fan, deserve a salute.
You’re showing up at AT&T Park in big numbers, but moreover, you’re enthusiastic as hell. The ballpark atmosphere is intoxicating (in a positive way), and it’s fun to be around.
Moreover, the players have noticed.
“We feed off of that every day,” said closer Brian Wilson, who’s one save shy of tying Rod Beck’s record of 48 set in 1993. “You can feel the crowd getting pumped up through the course of the game. … “They believe in us. And when you have that kind of fan support, it makes baseball a little easier.”
We’ll give San Diego right-hander Mat Latos a break and assume that he’s a poor misguided young soul who just doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
As you probably have heard by now, Latos told CBSsports.com’s Scott Miller, “Baseball works in funny ways. The only way I can honestly put it is, we could be like the Giants and go and change our whole lineup, put guys with ‘San Francisco Giants’ across their jerseys. We didn’t. We added two guys [Ryan Ludwick and Miguel Tejada]. We’ve been the same team all year. We haven’t just gone and grabbed guys from other teams.”
So, in the world according to Latos, there’d be no trades, certainly no Trade Deadline, maybe even no Minor League callups — none of the time-honored practices that ballclubs engage in to improve themselves.
Again, maybe Latos was speaking simply out of frustration or sour grapes. One thing’s for sure: If current trends hold up, it looks like the Padres should have added more than two players!
— Chris Haft