Baseballistic
All Things Baseball

Rookie Cain Keeping Giants Afloat

Matt Cain may be baseball’s best pitcher right now

Where would the San Francisco Giants be without Matt Cain?  As the NL Wildcard race reaches its home stretch, the Giants have seen their starting pitching falter quite often, leaving it to the streaky offense to produce a victory for San Francisco.  There has however been one starter on whom the Giants have been able to depend on time and time again. 

That starter is rookie flamethrower Matt Cain.  With a fastball that reaches 96-98MPH, a solid curveball, a hard-breaking slider, and a recently developed (with help from Jason Schmidt) change-up, Matt Cain has pitched spectacularly in his last 6 starts.  It’s tough to pitch well during the late months of the season, but the rookie has gone 5-0 with a paltry 0.21ERA since August 17; and his opponents haven’t been offensively-strapped teams either.  Matt Cain has allowed ONE, yes ONE, run since August 17, and he has K’d 43 batters in 32 innings pitched over the last 30 days. 

He is now my pick to win the NL Rookie of the Year award, and if Matt Cain keeps pitching this well, the Giants may reconsider dishing out big bucks to Jason Schmidt this offseason.  A young pitcher that throws this well in the clutch doesn’t come along very often, so the Giants know they have something special in #43. 

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On a related note, here is my prediction for the National League playoff picture. 

NL East: New York Mets — there’s no doubt…

NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals — the Reds have slipped a little of late, and Tony La Russa’s team appears to have solved its earlier woes

NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers — Greg Maddux was among the best Deadline acquisitions this season, and his veteran arm has sparked some improvement in the LA starting rotation.

NL Wildcard: This is by far the most interesting National League race. 

The contenders are

  • San Diego Padres — their pitching is among the best in the National League, both in the starting rotation (Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Woody Williams, and Clay Hensley).  The only question mark with the Friars is can their bats stay consistent?  San Diego leads the Wildcard by 2.5 games
  • Philadelphia Phillies — the opposite of San Diego, literally.  Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, and Jeff Conine have the Philly offense running smoothly.  The big problem for Charlie Manuel’s team is the starting pitching, and the late-inning relief.  2.5 games back in 2nd place
  • San Francisco Giants — Matt Cain is the current ace, and Jason Schmidt is the only other reliable starter.  Matt Morris and Noah Lowry have both been disappointing of late, and the Giants bullpen is reeling.  The Giants will need the bats to get HOT if they are going to win the Wildcard.  Tied with Philly at 2.5 games back.
  • Florida Marlins — the Marlins are solid on both sides of the ball.  The only question is, can the rookies handle the late-season pressure?  Anibal Sanchez’s no-hitter and the solid offensive production the last month answer that question with a resounding yes.  3.5 games back in 3rd place
  • Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros both have a shot at 4.5 and 5 games back, respectively, though chasing that many teams with just under 3 weeks left is tough to impossible

And my prediction for the NL Wildcard: Philadelphia Phillies

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TRIVIA TIME!

Yesterday’s Q and it’s A are…

Q: Who was the first Texas Rangers player to hit for the cycle?

A: Oddibe McDowell on July 23rd, 1985

And today’s question is…

Who was the last Giants player to win the Rookie of the Year award?

Answer by posting a comment, and you’ll find the correct answer at the end of my next post.

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