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Post-game thread: Cain, Panda help Giants win first game of series

If you want to be generous, there were a couple of different stars from tonight’s game. But you can keep Matt Cain. His xFIP was so cumbersome, so clunky, so unappealing. He kept runs off the board, but he did so without grace. His night was not, if you peeked at the peripherals, what we should have watched. It was an illusion. It was deceptive. After plugging his line score into Excel, I sat and stared at the result the formula spit out, and the result the formula spit out stared back at me. There was no closure.

But Pablo! Cat looks good. The cynic can note that he was hot last April too, but that’s cynical to the point of distraction. That’s cynical enough to know the name of every chemical in a Twinkie just so you can shame a person into not eating one. Just let it wash over you. Let go of your feelings. He’s back. Took a walk, belted a homer. Made the plays he was supposed to make at third, and almost made some he wasn’t supposed to make. The Giants won the World Series without a lot from Pablo last year -- imagine if he’s back. We’ll win the Universe Series. Parade’s on the moon this time, suckers.

Alright, so maybe it’s easy to get carried away. But, again, this is what the wins are supposed to look like. Strong starting pitching, strong bullpen, and when a good pitcher missed with a couple different pitches, there were two different hitters ready to pounce in the first inning. Daniel Hudson is a good pitcher, and he’ll have plenty of chances to annoy us in the future, but tonight the Giants did what they were supposed to do against him.

There were also a pair of know-they-aren’t-that-good-unless-they-are All-Stars tonight: Miguel Tejada and Ramon Ramirez. There’s no way -- no way -- that Tejada can be anything that approaches his former self. Unless he is. He looked fantastic on his pair of doubles, roping one down the line and shooting one into the opposite-field gap. It was just a game, but any time you can daydream about your #8 hitter, you take that chance. Ramirez was untouchable for 1 2/3 innings in a spot where a reliever soaked in kerosene could have let the Diamondbacks back into the game. There’s no way he can be a reliable late-inning option. Unless he is.

Why not? It was a good game. Dream a little. Enjoy the good vibes. Just don’t think about that dreadful fraud with the pedestrian K/BB ratio. Such a house of cards, that one. We can enjoy this win without him and his abhorrent, unscientific ways.