Matt Cain has been so good at AT&T Park that when he went the first innings tonight without giving up a hit, thoughts started creeping in. Could he do it again? Maybe not it, since Brandon Crawford made an error in the first, but a no-hitter?
Cain didn’t quite go that far, but he still came through with a performance to remember in his final home start of the regular season. 7 shutout innings, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 4 hits allowed.
“It seemed like he was really effortless tonight,” said Buster Posey.
Let’s take a look at what Cain has done in 15 starts at AT&T…
- Pitched 7 innings or more 11 times
- Allowed 2 ER or fewer 12 times
- Allowed 0 ER (or fewer!) four times
- Allowed 1 BB or fewer 11 times
- Final stats at home: 110.2 IP, 2.03 ERA, 101 K, 19 BB (5.3 K/BB ratio), 0.904 WHIP, .207/.247/.304 against
Unless the Giants catch the Reds between now and the end of the season (they’re currently three games back), Cain will get at least one more start at home before 2012 comes to a close.
— Cain also went 2-for-2 today, which means this year he’ll end up with the highest batting average of his career. He’s currently at .181, which moves him ahead of Madison Bumgarner (.167) for the rotation lead in that category. A battle to watch before the end of the season, to be sure. Bumgarner of course has the lead in home runs (2 to 1), a fact he surely mentions to Cain and the rest of the staff at least once every day.
— Let’s put those previously mentioned averages into perspective … or the exact opposite, perhaps. Aubrey Huff and Xavier Nady, two guys who have a good chance at making the postseason roster as pinch-hitters off the bench (and backup LF, in Nady’s case), are hitting .194 and .193 respectively.
— Posey knocked in his 100th run on Tuesday night, an accomplishment that would have really excited me back when I was an active baseball card collector in the late 1980s and early 1990s. That is, before the internet, sabermetrics and friends like Bay Area Stats Guy who’ve taught me how silly of a statistic the RBI really is. While Posey said that it was “pretty cool” to reach the 100-RBI milestone, his quotes after the game showed that he may not think all that differently from the stats guys.
“It has a lot to do with guys getting on base, doing the right things,” Posey said.
— Brandon Belt — who went 3-for-4 with a triple — should play every inning of the postseason at first base, with Posey catching and Hector Sanchez doing extra work in the cage so he can pinch hit if need be. Hey, Bruce Bochy did say before the season that Pablo Sandoval would be the emergency No. 3 catcher…
— Belt’s triple was his 6th, which puts him second on the team (only 9 behind Angel Pagan).
— Before the game, when all of us were waiting for Bochy to come out, Ryan Theriot was doing his best impression of a pitcher next to the dugout. The catcher was Brandon Crawford (who had a rare off-night in the field with a couple errors). After a few pitches, Sanchez walked over and pretended to hit with an invisible bat. Theriot promptly drilled Sanchez in the side, which was followed by laughter from everyone — especially Sanchez and Sandoval.
— Sandoval then went to the same spot between the cage and the dugout where Theriot was throwing and threw several really, really good pitches left-handed. The fact that he’s ambidextrous isn’t news, but to see it in action was pretty impressive.