The great Branch Rickey is well known for his famous quote “Baseball is a game of inches”. As the Giants make their way through the Arizona series, they’ve been reminded harshly of this notorious phrase. It’s easy to forget that baseball can be a cruel mistress during the excitement and joy of a 8 game wining streak. Hits find holes, line drives repeatedly clank off gloves, and all the puzzle pieces fit snug.
There is however, a dark side to luck, sometimes it isn’t on your side. Ray Durham just missing the fair side of the foul line in the 9th to tie the game and again jolting a ball to deep left center that involves Chris Young doing his best The Flash impression and tracking it down. Sometimes the hits don’t fall, or in this game, don’t stay in the park much either.
The 2nd loss in a row for the Giants in Arizona has a stingy, hurtful feeling about it. Matt Cain, who’s becoming the poster child for tough losses, went 6 strong innings only giving up 1 hit and 1 run. Only to leave the game to have the bullpen give up the lead when Taschner and Chulk couldn’t quite slam the door shut fast enough in the 7th.
As I was reading Schulman’s recap this morning in the Chron, there is one thing I can’t get mad about. Schulman questions why Bochy would take Cain out after the end of the 6th when he was obviously dealing? Citing that Bochy has handled Cain with “velvet gloves”. I hate, absolutely hate this line of thinking. Cain, coming off a complete game was undoubtedly going to be on some sort of pitch limitation. What good will Matt Cain be when he goes down with an arm injury at the back end of the season? He’s young, and he’s built like an ox but let’s not run him through the arm shredder just yet. Cain is going to be part of a very talented rotation for years to come, if he is, and this is a big part, healthy.
In 2006, Cain ranked 9th in the entire majors for pitcher abuse. This year, he’s currently ranked at number 8. Part of Bochy’s M.O. is that he is protective of young arms. When Bochy pulled Cain, he was already at 99 pitches. A pretty decent amount of pitches for a guy coming of a complete game. I don’t see a pitcher getting handled with “velvet gloves”. It’s not all bad luck, and there are some moves by Bochy that I can’t always agree with (Leaving Klesko in to hit against LHP) but taking Cain out after the 6th is one that I’m OK with.
Depressing Stat of the Day: In 35 innings, Matt Cain has only given up 12 hits. He’s walked more (17) than hits given up (12). Better luck next time Matt!