Our wunderkind has come down with a case of Salomonella, which can be common with a young pitcher who's rushed. Matt Cain had a problem with home runs in AAA, and it's carried over to the majors. His two biggest problems are free passes and homers, and he's become efficient at getting both problems out of the way in the same inning of each game.
What to do? There's an argument to be made for keeping him in the rotation, and learning against major league hitters. There's an argument to be made for sending him down to Fresno for a shot of confidence. Two sides to an issue? That sounds like a job for a recurring gag...
Counterpoint: So, the problem is that he's throwing an enchanted four-seamer of wonder, which can only be hit by proven major leaguers? Come on. The problem is location, and that's a problem he can fix in Fresno.
Point: But his location mistakes in Fresno will be forgiven a lot more often, which could lead to an illusion of progress. He has to figure out what he can and can't do against big league hitters, and there's no time like the present.
Counterpoint: Even if he knew what he could get away with against MLB batters, he can't pitch that fine yet. It comes back to the command. He needs to work on his mechanics, or his release point, or something. Besides, the Giants just banished Brad Hennessey to the bullpen, and he did nothing to deserve a demotion. Put him back in the rotation, and see if he can stay hot.
Point: Hennessey? Feh. The Giants already have a guy in the rotation who can't strike anyone out in Jamey Wright. They don't need another. Hennessey would have a string of three starts with five earned runs given up in each, and everyone would start getting worked up over him. Keep Cain where he is, and let him learn the hard way.
Counterpoint: I'm just worried a youngster like Cain will start pressing, and his frustration will get something else out of whack. He'll start trying to overthrow, or something. Don't you remember what it was like to be 21? Everything was the end of the world, and I can't even imagine what it would be like if you had the pressure Cain has on him.
Point: Do I remember what it was like to be 21? Hmm, I'll try. Spring days. Skipping class. Not a care in the world. Getting drunk at 11:00 in the morning? Why not? Sunning myself in the quad. Scouting out the hotties. Skipping more class. Meeting exciting new people; people who didn't know how quickly life will drag them down. Drag us all down.
One day you're doing a Jello shooter off the backside of an underwear model, the next you're taxiing three brats to swimming practice. Noses runny, spilling juice on the upholstery; every now and again, I fantasize about holding one of their heads underwater. Not to kill them, of course. Just to scare them. Just so they know that whoever brings them in this world can see them out. Though I'd need a DNA test to make sure I actually did bring them in this world. No one in my family has ears that stick out like that, and neither does anyone in your family. If you're going to cheat on me, you could at least do it with someone who didn't have such crazy ears.
Point: I guess this means I win. Cain stays in the majors.
If you're new to the site, see, the gag is that the two are married, and have more problems than just being on the opposite site of an issue, and...ah, forget it.
I'm about 60% in favor of keeping Cain in the big leagues, and 40% hoping he rights the ship in the minors. It's not an easy situation at all. Sometimes it's nice to have an easy decision, like getting rid of Jason Christiansen last season.
These ambiguous decisions...I'm not a fan. The first thing I'd do as a general manager is get rid of the tough decisions. Then everything that followed would be an easy decision, and I'd be right most of the time. Sometimes Brian Sabean needs to think out of the box like that.