Giants drop fourth straight, Matt Cain is awful

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

That would be the seventh loss in their last eight games, if you're keeping track.

I know this team. Wait, I know this team.

/rips off mask

Oh, my word. It's the 2013 Giants. I knew it.

2013 Giants: And I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling kifrhgggrawwwwuuugghhfffooooggx

Oh, no, please stop barfing everywhere, 2013 Giants.

2013 Giants: gafrrrfffggggrrngghgggggooooooogggrhnngh

No, no, no, I just had the rugs cleaned

2013 Giants: I ... I was just trying to say that I would have gotten away with it if it oh no no please help grragggrrffggghooohgrrrrrrfhggg

Don't worry, we get it. You're here and you're awful. The 2013 Giants were the team that spawned a million articles with "What's Wrong With ... ?" articles. What's wrong with Matt Cain? What's wrong with Ryan Vogelsong? What's wrong with Buster Posey in the second half? What's wrong, what's wrong, what's wrong?

What's wrong with the Giants right now? The same thing that was wrong with them last year, give or take. Let's assume they're this bad for the rest of the season. If the 2014 Giants really morphed into the 2013 Giants, what would the unholy hybrid finish the season at? Let's see, 91 games left, multiplied by a .469 winning percentage ... that's 43 more wins. That means they would be an 86-win team.

That would be a slow trudge toward 86 wins, too. Two wins up, three losses down. Two wins up, three losses down. They wouldn't lose 30 in a row and give you sweet release. They would tease you, with the improbably hot start buoying them just enough to keep you interested. That's what would happen if this team was secretly as bad as last year's team, but just realized it last week. They would lose in a heartbreaking, drawn-out fashion.

Sweet dreams.

★★★

Except, hold on, there's no way this team is as bad as last year's team. I'm no sabermatracan, but the switch from Barry Zito to Tim Hudson is worth at least seven or eight wins. Yeah, there's no way. I worked with the 2013 Giants. I knew the 2013 Giants. The 2013 Giants were an enemy of mine. And you, 2014 Giants, are no 2013 Giants. I hope. Please.

More substantively, one of the assumptions about the 2014 Giants being better was that Matt Cain was closer to the pitcher he was in the second half last year than the mess he was in the first half. He just couldn't be that bad again.

We're here. He is. His ERA is up to 4.52 this season. It was 4.55 on June 18th last year. If you were flummoxed by Matt Cain then, you're flummoxed by him now. This is three-time All-Star and two-time World Series hero Matt Cain, saver of children, master of fastballs, and he's turned into Todd Wellemeyer.

We're not exactly in the first three weeks of the season, but it's still early enough for a string of hot starts to make up for a lot of early miscues. Everything else is the same on the surface -- fastball velocity, strikeouts-per-nine -- but he's allowing home runs at a ridiculous, historic rate. Only the worst of the dinger-abused pitchers gave up homers on 15 percent of fly balls allowed, which is where Cain is now.

This is the point of the movie where Dave Cameron is revealed as the supervillain, and he's using a fully functional  xFIP Ray to bend the laws of physics to align with his sabermetric principles. Well, I'm already wearing tights, so there's only one thing to do ...

All pitchers decline, all pitchers get worse. I thought we had a couple more years with Cain, though, I really did. Maybe we still do. I'm actively believing we still do. But on the backend of a four-game losing streak, in a game the Giants really wanted to make everyone feel better, Cain was as bad as he's ever been.

It should be noted, though, that it was a two-strike pitch that Gordon Beckham launched, and a two-strike pitch that Tyler Flowers took for a two-out walk that started the biggest mess. Those two pitches were the sliding subway doors of the night, and with a grip that was 0.0001 pounds lighter for either pitch, maybe this is another Matt Cain! post for everyone to enjoy.

I think I hate baseball.

★★★

Angel Pagan's back is bothering him, and he'll probably miss a chunk of time, but without going on the DL.

★★★

The Dodgers are winning.

★★★

Chris Sale pitches for the White Sox tomorrow.

★★★

Good night!

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