Angel Pagan

Giants lost 5-4 again, wait for Matt Cain to stop the nightmare

Have to wonder if Matt Cain is at least the slightest bit annoyed about being the third starter in this rotation. He was here first. He’s thrown the most innings. He pitched 21.1 scoreless innings in the playoffs. He pitched the best during Spring Training. Now, he makes the most money. Still, No. 3.

We know what his answer would be: “It doesn’t matter to me, we have a great staff and I’m just happy to pitch when I can and help the team win. Timmy’s accomplished a lot in this game, Madison’s a great young pitcher and breaks things up a bit between Timmy and I, and we’re all going to get our starts so we just have to perform when it’s our turn.”

After worse than expected starts from Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner, the Giants turn to their No. 3 pitcher to bail them out. Admit it, if the Giants start the season getting swept by the Arizona D-Backs, if the D-Backs win their eighth straight against the Giants on Sunday … it’s just not a good look.

It’s not all on Cain, and the Giants seem a little more sprightly on offense so far. No stolen bases today, or attempts. None on Friday, either. At least the team looks stocked with Major League hitters, and many of them are of the non-borderline variety. The errors of Friday weren’t present on Saturday. The bullpen’s still the bullpen. I said the Giants would win 91 games in my unbelievably long season preview from yesterday, and I’m sticking by it. Going out on a limb after game No. 2, I know. To get started on that journey, it’ll help if Cain can keep the ball from sailing over the fence in the first few innings.

“Giant” problems

— This slow start from Angel Pagan, while a little annoying, isn’t much of a surprise. Throughout his career, his April slash line is a meager .235/.309/.333 over 270 PA, each of those percentages the worst of his career. It’s almost like they should just let him chill out in San Francisco for a month — get to know the city a little, check out the Natural History Museum and the MOMA, let Gregor Blanco play all April, then re-release Pagan back into the wild next month. That is, of course, an incredibly stupid idea because he’d probably have a terrible May as a result, but then again I went wine tasting a few hours ago.

— Brett Pill hit a home run in his lone plate appearance, while Brandon Belt struck out twice for the second consecutive day — but at least Belt struck out swinging both times on Saturday. So there’s that.

— Pablo Sandoval had 2 hits for the second consecutive game, including a homer. He also walked once. Still, on our way back from Healdsburg this afternoon I had to hear Marty Lurie and some old man caller talk about Sandoval’s weight as if it’s a damn national crisis. Enough. Please. If he performs terribly and his defense deteriorates, that’s one thing. But he’s an overweight baseball player. They make those, you know. The Giants are making him do extra conditioning work, but he likes to consume more calories than the average 25-year-old athlete when he’s on his own. In the meantime, nobody’s saying anything about what Barry Zito could do to increase his velocity. We’ll explore an option in regards to that tomorrow.

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