If this game had a subtitle, it would be: “Matt Cain is flipping awesome”.
In his 3rd career postseason start, Matt Cain had yet another very effective game. The 26-year-old right-hander pitched 7.2 sterling innings to earn his 2nd win of the 2010 postseason. By sabermetric principles, it wasn’t a dominating start — Cain only had 2 strikeouts to 2 walks and 4 hits — but Cain did what’s hes been able to do for the past 4 years, give the Giants a good chance to win. While Cain didn’t punch out hitters left and right, he generated a lot of weak contact. Cain induced 7 groundouts and 3 pop outs along with several lazy fly outs.
Cain led with his fastball, throwing the pitch 53 times out of a total of 98 pitches. He also mixed in the changeup 23 times, the slider 21 times, and a single curve. The lowered curveball usage is interesting, since Cain will often throw it as a first pitch to steal a strike. Cain threw his curveball 13% of the time this year and he basically nixed the pitch tonight, opting for a higher slider rate (21% tonight, 8.9% seasonal).
The Giants offense chipped in 6 additional runs in a nightmarish 8th inning for the Texas bullpen. With 2 outs, Buster Posey’s single would open the floodgates. Lefty Derek Holland was called in to pitch against Nate Schierholtz. Nate took a 4-pitch walk from Holland that was backed up by another 4-pitch walk to Cody Ross. Holland then walked Aubrey Huff with the bases loaded to force in the 3rd Giants’ run of the game. Holland was pulled for Mark Lowe, who then proceeded to walk Juan Uribe — I didn’t think that was possible — before giving up a 2 run single to Edgar Renteria in the next at-bat. Then, somehow, the offensively dormant Aaron Rowand smoked a triple into right-center to tack on another 2 runs. Andres Torres followed Rowand with an RBI double before Freddy Sanchez struck out to end the inning.
By the time the fire was out, the Rangers bullpen allowed 7 runs, 4 hits, and 4 walks. Ouch.
Food for thought: The offense has now scored 20 runs over the first two games of the World Series. In the NLCS, the offense scored a total of 19 runs over 6 games.