The Giants have two starting pitchers under contracts totaling more $100 million threw shutouts on the same week. Matt Cain’s average annual value is a little higher than Barry Zito’s, and his shutout was just a little better than Zito’s 4-hitter in Colorado. Zito can brag about being the second left-hander ever to blank the Rockies at Coors, but Cain was just one single from the Pirates’ starting pitcher away from perfection.
This may sound like hyperbole, but that was the best pitching performance I’ve ever seen in person. Cain was in command of both sides of the plate and all his pitches, and the Pirates were overmatched. Only 1 hit allowed. No walks. 11 strikeouts. And over his 106 pitches he made the game of baseball look comically easy.
Here are Bruce Bochy, Cain and Buster Posey talking about Cain’s almost-perfect game (Cain admitted being aware of the pending perfect game while he was pitching … so was Buster).
Yesterday’s game in Denver was nuts. Psychotic. Murderous on those with high blood pressure. Today’s home opener was relaxing — maybe that’s why they have a beach down the right field line now at AT&T.
— After a strange first outing for Cain in Arizona (5 earned runs allowed in 6 innings), Cain looked like he was trying to justify the money the Giants are obligated to pay him. Except Giants fans have a much longer leash than that for Cain, who’s proven himself to these fans over six-plus seasons. One guy who got a decent deal from the Giants (although just a fraction of Cain’s) is Aubrey Huff, who got the start amidst cries from the #FreeBelt crowd. Huff went 2-for-3 with a HR and a walk, and his one out was a sharply hit line drive to Andrew McCutchen.
— Perhaps not coincidentally, Huff talked to a huge crowd of assorted media folks after the game in the clubhouse. I couldn’t hear all that was said, but as far as I know the word “haters” was not uttered. I could be wrong, though.
— After most everyone cleared out of the clubhouse, Will Clark strolled in. Thrill was wearing black cowboy boots and sipping on a can of Coors Light, and he talked about how lightning struck the plane he was on last night. Sounds like traveling can get pretty fearsome. Nothing a Silver Bullet after a win can’t fix.
— Another error-free game for the Giants, featuring great work once again from Brandon Crawford, which brings our running tally to…
Error-free games: 3
3-error games: 3
— Pablo Sandoval hit a ball so hard off the right-centerfield bricks that there might be a hole there, or at least a dent. He also hit a deep flyball that was caught on the leftfield warning track. Huge opposite field power, and probably at least a double (if not a homer) in several other parks. The double off the bricks probably would’ve been a home run in every other park that ever existed, besides the Polo Grounds, I guess.
— The scene before the game was expectedly chills-worthy. First a group of 1962 Giants were honored (Felipe Alou got a huge ovation; I looked over at Larry Krueger but he was chatting with someone and didn’t display any sort of reaction). Then Bryan Stow was on the video board, virtually “handing” the ball to his 13-year-old son Tyler who threw out a great first pitch. The Giants all gathered around Tyler, and Jeremy Affeldt walked off the field with the kid, mussing up his hair and chatting with him. Really cool scene. It’s too bad Bryan can’t make it out here to throw, but maybe someday. A year ago at this time, a lot of people wondered if he’d live through April.
— Nate Schierholtz had 2 hits to give him this slash line: .308/.286/.769. The lack of walks and a sacrifice fly account for a lower OBP than his batting average, but Bochy doesn’t care about stuff like that. It’s clear Bochy’s doghouse has room for only one, and Schierholtz (playing the role of Fido after a mediocre spring dotted with minor injuries) has been replaced by Brandon “Old Yeller” Belt.
— Here’s Bochy talking about his mix-and-match lineup, saying what you’d probably expect: “I like the way Aubrey’s been swinging the bat … we’re going to go with the hot hands … I want these players to know they’re all going to be used.”