Brian Wilson

NLCS Game 3: Matt Cain dominates in his own way

Matt Cain just sent a little message to Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez: don’t you … forget about me. No, no, no, no … don’t you … forget about me.

Actually, that message was actually sent to the Philadelphia Phillies, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver (who couldn’t care less) and Bruce Bochy, who no longer needs to worry about monitoring the dead flesh on Tim Lincecum’s right hand because Madison Bumgarner vs. Joe Blanton looks pretty good right now.

But wow. Cain had shutdown innings after the two frames when the Giants found the time to plate some runs. He struck out some dudes (5), and when Bruce Bochy came out to supposedly take him out, he told him “No.” Bruce Bochy was fine with this, and not just because Bochy’s an attention-whore who wanted some cheers for once.

Oh, Cain. How could we have worried that Cole “Future Zito” Hamels would stymie you?

The best inning was that 1-2-3 job that he tossed out there after the Giants scored their third run on Chase Utley’s misplay that was labeled a hit, partly because Utley’s a much better player than Brooks Conrad. 3-0 lead, and the Phillies were desperate. And what happened? Groundout. Groundout. Flyout.

Cody Ross. CODY ROSS!!! Once again, the Giants found a way to win without Buster Posey, when it was previously thought to be impossible.

Javier Lopez. JAVIER LOPEZ!!! Ray Ratto asked whether you bring in Brian Wilson because the right-handed Placido Polanco was sandwiched between Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. That right there shows how the Phillies are a bit of a paper tiger. Polanco WAS a threat, back in 2007. Polanco doesn’t face those lefty frisbees much anymore, and he didn’t have an answer against the Giants’ best beardless relief pitcher.

Brian Wilson. BRIAN WILSON!!! Isn’t it nice to not go into the ninth inning expecting to lose? Sure, we expect to have a tough 9th inning. Multiple baserunners, lots of murmuring from the crowd. But we don’t feel snakebit, like we’re always on our way to a gut-punch loss every time he steps on the mound. Quite the opposite, actually.

Bruce Bochy. BRUCE BOCHY!!! He played around with the lineup but didn’t mess around with Pablo Sandoval, who needs to work his way back onto this team. Sandoval used up all his currency over the past five months, he needs some sort of crazy 3-run pinch-hit HR to get back into good graces, and that makes sense.

But it all comes back to Cain. He could have given up 4 runs in 5+ innings, and nobody would have been really surprised. But he gave up 0 runs in 7 innings, and we’re even less surprised. That’s the kind of pitcher he is. We expect greatness, but not-that-greatness. Cain doesn’t strike out as many guys as Lincecum and Sanchez, and that’s why he’s so much better now. He isn’t a strikeout pitcher. He’s just a pitcher. That’s cool.

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