Used to be my goal in life was to write a little bit, tell some naughty limericks, and beat Ninja Gaiden without a Game Genie. Simple things, but I'm a simple man.
Too simple. My new goal is to use Matt Cain as a blunt object to prove that pitcher wins are the worst widely accepted stat in baseball. Worse than RBI. Far worse than batting average. Because if you believe in the narrative of pitcher wins, every pitcher is responsible for a ton of stuff out of his control. How his bullpen pitches. How well his team hits. The pitcher is responsible for noticing all of these things, and then bearing down or letting up as needed.
Ridiculous. Matt Cain pitched today like he has since he came up with the Giants as a 20-year-old. He got strikeouts, he got fly outs, and he avoided the home run. He pitched with the same level of concentration that he would if it were the World Series, which we know because we watched him do it in the World Series. He took a foul ball off his pitching hand, got down a bunt on the next pitch, and stayed in the game because he's Matt Cain, a man who flosses his teeth with black mambas and shaves with an open flame.
Cain was a passed ball away from a no-decision. He was a fly ball away from a no-decision. And if one of those things had happened, he still would have been Matt Cain. In the past, one of those things would have happened. That's how you become one of the unluckiest pitchers of the past 70 years. You were excused for being cynical and expecting the bullpen meltdown.
As is, he got the win. That doesn't make him better -- it just means his bullpen was a little better than it was in the past. He's still Matt Cain.
Have you noticed that I like typing Matt Cain? Matt Cain Matt Cain Matt Cain. Lincecum gets the press, Wilson gets the talk-show appearances, and Posey gets the endorsements and my letters written with what he's right in hoping is red ink, but Matt Cain was the original hope -- the first guy on a bad team to make the transition from prospect to fixture.
Four more wins in a row would be swell. Not for the Giants -- though that would be super keen as well -- but for Cain. That would get him to .500 for his career, which would prove what we've always suspected: Cain is a completely average pitcher.
Pffft. Even in jest, it's hard to type those words without twitching. Matt Cain is awesome, and we're crazy lucky to have watched him pitch for as long as we have, and hopefully we'll get to watch him for a lot longer.
Also: Matt Cain.