Matt Cain rocked for one run, Giants unable to recover

Wait, this is made out of sand. Literally wet sand. - Thearon W. Henderson

He gets hosed, he gets hosed, he gets hosed. Matt Cain.

Don't worry your pretty little heads about it. This counts as a credit for a 11-10 victory at Coors Field, with the Giants scoring six runs on eight straight singles that fall in the vast expanses of the outfield. That's going to be a fun game. Close your eyes and picture it. Smell the thin air. Smell the moist baseballs. Picture the wrinkled imp in the Dinger costume taking off the gigantic foam triceratops head, leaving without anyone acknowledging him or saying goodbye, and going home to eat a sad, sad TV dinner by himself. It's beautiful.

Ahh. Yeah, that's a fun image.

Until then, here's a wet caining. Enjoy.

If you're looking for raw numbers, this is the 71st time Matt Cain has allowed fewer than two runs with six innings or more without a win. This is the 50th time the Giants have lost such a game, with Cain not only getting shafted for a participatory ribbon for his quality start, but actually having to deal with an uneasy clubhouse and questions about what went wrong.

There's an inner circle to those cainings, too. This is the 26th caining in which Cain has pitched at least seven innings, allowing one run or fewer, without getting a win.

Welcome back, baseball. You're the scary clown at the birthday party we've been looking forward to for six months.

Rejoice in the simple pleasures of watching Cain do well again, though. He wrapped his curveball around the outside edges expertly like he used to, a total William Tell trick shot that he nailed when he needed to steal a strike or put someone away. His fastball was crisp, and he had decent success up in the zone. His command was pretty good, for the most part, although it wouldn't be a true caining if there weren't something of a morality lesson. See what happens when you walk the leadoff hitter in an inning, Matt Cain? Tsk tsk.

Even though it's okay to embrace the consolation prize of Cain pitching well, there's the caveat that he did it to the road Rockies. The road Rockies don't do anything to anyone. There's a 43-percent chance that Jon Garland could have done that to the Rockies in AT&T Park. So be wary of hanging the "Mission Accomplished" banner up after one excellent Cain start.

But go ahead with the "Caining Accomplished" banner. Hang that puppy. Defile it if you have the time, but make sure it gets hung up. Then take it down, fold it, and keep it in a dry place for the next time. Because there will be a next time. I guess if he's getting cained he's pitching well. Beats an 8-7 loss when he gives up six and makes us ask the dreaded WWWMC? question that we're sick of asking.


The heart says, "Sign Sergio Romo to a long-term deal."

The brain says, "So, I guess LaTroy Hawkins is still alive, and he's a closer? huh."

The heart says, "Closers are special, irreplaceable creatures. They strike out Ryans Howard and Miguels Cabrera looking. Don't take them for granted."

The brain says, "LaTroy Hawkins is literally an effective closer in Major League Baseball in 2014."

The heart says, "There's nothing worse than a blown save, nothing more demoralizing. Invest in the bullpen , and the bullpen will invest in you. Or something."

The brain says, "We're totally ending up with Jerome Williams in the next couple years, aren't we?"

The heart says, "You don't deserve me," and then army-crawls out of my ear.

If you didn't say everything that crossed your mind, brain, I wouldn't drink so much. Work on that.


An unspoken tradition of caining is to look around for a scapegoat. Ostensibly there are seven or eight people responsible, with the manager who wrote the lineup culpable in a butterfly-flapping-its-wings-at-a-slider kind of way. But it's more fun to pick someone.

Michael Morse hit into a double play in a key spot, reminding us that almost nothing's worth than the no-out, first-and-second double play. There are so many possibilities with that setup. A single could bring a run in and reset the situation. A double could bring a run in and put two runners in scoring position. A walk could load the bases with no outs for the next guy. Even a strikeout gives the next hitter a chance to do some variation of the above. The only thing you can't do is hit into a double play.

But we're at least a couple weeks away from being hard on Michael Morse, who's been excellent so far. Don't look up what he did last April if you want to maintain the illusion, but he's been fun to watch over the first two weeks. Don't scapegoat him for a caining just yet.

Bruce Bochy gets an honorable mention for putting Hector Sanchez behind the plate a day after Posey rested. Hey, I'm all for getting Posey copious rest. But I think part of the decision to sit Belt had to do with lefty-on-lefty shenanigans, even though it's almost certainly true that Belt is a better hitter against lefties. He passes the eyeball test against lefties. He passes the statistical test. He's probably better.

But post-hoc analysis like that is always easier when the game doesn't go the way you would have hoped. Maybe if Belt's out at first, he runs neck first into a camera and misses a month. Maybe Bochy saved the division, smart aleck. No, save the manager scapegoating where when he calls a hit and run with two outs in the ninth.

Instead, let's turn on a favored son for a bit. Why, Hunter? Why have you forsaken us? Pence was swinging his bat through the oatmeal again, slowing him down just enough to get the ball, but not enough to do anything with it other than a weak grounder. In a season where the Giants haven't exactly struggled for runs, Pence has struggled to do anything positive, throwing arm excepted. Which is okay -- the modestly fast start does wonders when you want to gloss over things like that.

Then you get to an ol'-fashioned caining, and you want to yell at someone, so take a moment to yell at the guy who's looked the worst this season. C'mon, man. Then give him a pat on the back, because five years is a long time. A loooooong time. A long, loooooooooong time. We believe in you, Hunter Pence.

Also a long time: 162 games. So, uh, best of luck.


Jack Morris had 14 games where he pitched seven innings or more, allowing one run or fewer, and didn't get the win. He pitched for eight more years than Cain has, with 260 additional starts. Maybe he gives pitching-to-the-score lessons. It's like Rick Barry and underhanded free throws. Just ask. Don't be ashamed.

(Note: I do not actually believe this.)

(Additional note: Dammit, Giants.)

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