See, the Giants and Rockies had a little détente when it came to their home ballparks. We think Coors Field is ridiculous, sure, but Rockies fans think AT&T Park is ridiculous, too. Imagine watching 81 baseball games a year where every well-hit fly ball goes out, then watching games at AT&T, where balls get crushed 410 feet and get caught by a center fielder gliding back.
Part of this détente was that the Giants would lose at their horrid ballpark, and the Rockies would lose at ours. It worked out well, in a way. The Giants would lose 9-8 on a pop-up home run after cycling through six relievers, and the Rockies would lose 2-1 after crushing six balls that would have been home runs in Coors. It was simple, and everyone was nauseated at the sight of everyone else, but it worked.
Then the Giants started winning games at Coors. They didn't care about the agreement. Now, the historians around here will note that the Rockies started it in 2008, when they'd get cocky and do things like pitch Livan Hernandez on purpose, yet still win at AT&T. But regardless of who started what, the Giants were winning at Coors for a while. The Giants didn't lose a series at Coors in 2012, for example. And that was against the rules.
The Giants swept the Rockies in San Francisco in early April, and the Rockies took three out of four in Denver last week. Everything was as it should be.
Which is a windy introduction to say that when the Rockies shut the Giants out on Friday, it felt ominous. As in, the Rockies are going to be jerks and start winning in San Francisco, totally ignoring that they broke the rules first. This is basically how the First Barbary War started. When the Rockies -- who just a year ago had a phenomenally wretched pitching staff trying phenomenally hilarious things -- shut the Giants out at AT&T, it didn't feel right.
Sunday felt right. And how! At the end of Friday, the Giants were in the middle of a two-game losing streak, in which they had scored a run in 19 innings. It's amazing what a walk-off inside-the-park home run, a bunch of runs, and two wins will do for the ol' confidence.
Here's the best part of Giants pitchers pitch well: the part where they pitch well and win baseball games because of the good pitching. But there are auxiliary benefits, too. Here's a May start in which Matt Cain walked six batters. Every other start that month was at least a quality start. In two of those starts, Cain allowed just one hit -- one in eight innings against the Rockies at AT&T (see?) and a one-hit shutout against the Diamondbacks.
And that meant that six-walk start was one of them nights. Nothing too odd. Get 'em next time, Matty. And, invariably, he would.
With a pitcher in a slump -- one with an easily identifiable endpoint, no less -- you don't get that relief. This start has to be a part of the larger struggle, the bloody battle between a pitcher and his own mechanics. Matt Cain walked more batters than he has since that 2010, a problem that fits in with his lack of command and control. The walks are a control problem. The home runs are a command problem. And they're all tied into each other, and eventually we'll all figure it out. I'll all snap into focus like a big Magic Eye poster.
(An aside: the Magic Eye website is as awesome as you'd expect. Needs more spinny-counter GIFs or "under construction" GIFs. Maybe a MIDI file that auto-plays "Paradise City" or something.)_
Except, maybe Matt Cain is pretty much the same pitcher already. He'd held hitters to a .196/.268/.363 line in May before Sunday, with the Giants winning all five games he pitched. He's given up four homers through five starts -- not too far off from his yearly average. (He allowed nine in April, which is as many as he allowed in 2009.) So even though he probably deserved to give up more runs today than he actually allowed, he was almost certainly owed a few. And he's probably still Matt Cain as we know him.
That doesn't mean it was an easy start to watch. Goodness. Should probably send Carlos Gonzalez some smoked meats or something for letting us have a happy Sunday.
Buster Posey coming into today:
|Last 7 days||5||22||1||0||0||1||1||3||.429||.455||.476||.931|
|Last 14 days||10||43||2||0||1||4||3||6||.368||.419||.500||.919|
|Last 28 days||23||97||6||0||3||14||14||12||.338||.433||.525||.958|
Thinking there's no sense in waiting for an extension after the current extension, but it's not my money.
Back up to .500 since returning from paternity leave. Yes, I pay attention to this stuff, too. This means the kid stays, which is probably a relief for my wife.