It seemed inevitable, since Matt Cain was awful in his last start. Some might point to his last outing against the Cardinals (two earned runs over six innings) as evidence that the Giants should give him one last shot, but Juan Perez saved a run with his dinger-robbery of Stephen Piscotty. It’s not like Cain dominated the Cardinals, and Sunday’s game is rather important for the Giants since they head to L.A. after the game concludes.
But hey, even though I know some people who work for MLB.com and are very conscientious, maybe the above screenshot was just a mistake fueled by assumption. Maybe this decision — which hasn’t been announced by Bruce Bochy — hasn’t been finalized just yet.
However, the Giants’ website is also running a story that includes the following:
Right-hander Matt Cain likely will be scratched from his scheduled start Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals and will be replaced by Chris Heston, Giants general manager Bobby Evans said Thursday.
Evans delivered this information during his radio show on KNBR-AM (680), the Giants’ flagship station.
Asked about the struggling Cain’s pitching status for Sunday, Evans said, “We’re leaning toward giving the ball probably to Heston. We’re continuing to talk through it, but that’s probably a ‘lean’ at this point.”
Once it’s officially made, the decision to shelve Cain and call Heston (who hasn’t pitched in a game since being optioned to Sacramento) back up won’t be a surprise, and not just because the team’s own website kind of let the secret out.
I was 99% convinced that Cain was done for the season after serving up multiple cookies to the Cubs on Tuesday. Not only is Cain not fit to pitch in a pennant race, we can’t assume that he’s 100% healthy simply because his velocity isn’t down. If he can’t figure out how to throw strikes or maintain his arm slot, how do the Giants know for certain that his “new arm’s” mechanics aren’t putting him at greater risk him for a very serious injury — one that could necessitate Tommy John surgery, for instance. Since he can’t pitch five consecutive innings without giving up a home run these days, the best course of action is to monitor his arm and get him ready for next season.