Matt Cain has got to be the most frustrated man on the Giants squad. When he’s pitched well, the offense can’t score any runs and he loses. When he doesn’t pitch well, well, he loses again. With the 4-2 defeat last night against the Atlanta Braves, the Giants need to figure out how to get Cain back on track. It makes sense to skip Cain a spot in the rotation, much like the Giants did in 2006. Cain could watch some video over the break and try and figure out where his control has gone. Most importantly, he could just take a mental breather, a 3-12 record has to be tough to deal with for a young pitcher that many expected big things out of.
Cain couldn’t overcome his first inning woes last night, one in which he dug himself an early hole by walking 3 Braves and throwing 43 pitches. Bochy already had Jack Taschner warming up before the first was done. Cain’s wildness has been a problem for him all year. He’s 2nd in the NL in walks with 63 (which also finds teammates Lowry and Zito not far behind) and tied for the lead in wild pitches with 9. I think a good part of the wild pitches can be attributed to Molina who has looked bad at times on defense.
In the recap, SFGiants.com, picks up on Cain’s declining strikeout rate and increasing wildness.
No longer is Cain simply the victim of poor run support, as he has been through most of the season. He has walked 63 batters while striking out 89, a lackluster ratio for a power pitcher. That includes nine walks and five strikeouts in his last two starts. By comparison, Cain’s strikeouts virtually doubled his walks (179 to 87) last season.
In 2006 the walks were digestible in part because Cain was also striking out batters at a nice clip. His K/9 rate was 8.45 but this year his K/9 has fallen to 6.51, for comparison even Zito’s K/9 rate this year is 6.0. Cain has lost almost 2 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. For a guy with a mid 90′s fastball and developing breaking stuff, the K’s just aren’t there.
With Ortiz and Misch stretching out their arms for the rotation, I think the Giants desperately need to give Cain a break. It doesn’t make any sense to keep riding Cain day in and day out when the Giants aren’t contending. One of the advantages of losing is that you can do something like skip Cain a start. Not only would it be good for Cain to take a break and study some film, it would lessen some of the total IP on his arm for this year. Cain currently ranks 8th on pitcher abuse points from BP.
Giants 22nd overall pick Tim Aldseron has officially signed with the team for a price of 1.29 million which is just slightly over the slot. Alderson should report to rookie-ball to get in some work before the year is over. Alderson has plus, plus command and three developing pitches that include a above average FB, a plus curve, and a in-the-works changeup.
You can find more Tim Alderson information at the following links: