Well, at least Matt Cain‘s got the winning part of the equation down.
The San Francisco Giants ace was the benefactor of seven runs of offense on Sunday, helping him to his fourth victory of May. Since starting off the season with a 0-2 April and a rather dismal 6.49/1.30 ERA/WHIP, no team has been able to beat Cain on the mound this month.
Now, if he can only shake this Jekyll and Hyde act on the mound …
Yes, as you might have guessed, Cain’s winning ways have been helped by his average six runs of support that he was getting this month going into play on Sunday. Though he certainly didn’t do enough to lose the game this afternoon, you could say he didn’t really make a strong case for a win either.
Continuing the ‘one good start, one shaky start’ trend that’s been a problem for the righty since the beginning of the season, Cain followed his seven-inning gem earlier in the week with an uninspiring outing, laboring through 105 pitches and lasting just five innings against the Colorado Rockies.
Sure, he only allowed a pair of runs on a couple of hits and struck out six, but it was the walks — all six of them — that really brought him to an early exit on Sunday.
A whopping three of them came in the very first inning, and it wouldn’t have taking much guessing to know that both of Cain’s earned runs allowed resulted from the free passes. Considering that he added two more to the tally in the following inning, and you could say he was a little lucky to escape with minimal damage done.
His shaky control tied an unwanted career-high, as the 28-year-old hadn’t walked this many batters since May 12 of 2012. For a pitcher who’d improved his control dramatically over the last season, it was somewhat unexpected, and the outing pushed his BB/9 to 3.16 on the season through 68.1 IP — a five-year high.
While Cain’s numbers have definitely improved in May, the fact is that he’s thrown consecutive quality outings just once this season over 10 starts, and even if the QS isn’t the best tool in evaluating pitchers in most cases, it’s simple enough to illustrate the issues of the San Francisco hurler.
He may have been unlucky to go winless in the first month, but that’s now been paid back in full by the baseball gods.
The Giants are undoubtedly enjoying the victories, but they’re going to need their No. 1 pitcher to get back to being the guy they’ve known for the last couple of seasons for the good times to continue … because the six-plus runs of support aren’t likely to keep up over the rest of the season.