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Giants swept, Matt Cain's return spoiled

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But Lucius Fox will save us all, and Cain looked pretty okay.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

If you're new to the site, or if you just don't read that often, you might be confused by the term "Marlins Death Fog." Last year, I attempted to explain it.

  • 1997
  • 2003
  • Breaking Buster Posey
  • Breaking Pablo Sandoval
  • Being in town when Angel Pagan's knee re-exploded
  • Jeffrey Loria's face
  • Putting the Giants under .500 for good (in 2013)
  • Jeffrey Loria's butt sticking out from his shirt collar and being mistaken for a face because his face is like a butt

The next time the Giants visited Miami after that article, Marco Scutaro hit Brandon Belt in the head with a baseball, giving him a concussion. This year, we had a scare when Buster Posey left the game after taking a foul ball to the mask.

The Marlins Death Fog is a horrible, horrible thing.

Here, though, we have a bit of a reversal, a green sprout jutting out of the desolated Marlins landscape. Out of the Marlins Death Fog, the 2015 season of Matt Cain has arisen. Oh, how we've waited for this. Oh, sweet, welcome pitching help.

And then the Marlins ruined everything by being jerkfaces and sweeping the series. I want to complain about the MDF applying to on-field play, except this is the first time the Giants have lost a series in Miami since 2008, when they were the Florida Marlins in Dolphin Stadium. It just seems like the Giants have troubles in Miami, and I don't know why. Expectations, I suppose. Scar tissue, perhaps.

The story of the day, though, isn't the loss or the score or what cap Justin Bour will wear on his plaque. It's Matt Cain looking healthy and throwing the ball well. It wasn't a perfect outing -- Andrew Susac's glove hopped around the zone a bit, hinting that Cain wasn't exactly fine with his command -- but it was a promising outing. I will take promising from Matt Cain right now. I will take the promising and put it in a little bag around my neck and smell it when I get stressed out. If you think this was the Marlins Death Fog, you're mistaken. That would have been Cain throwing 87 and not making it out of the second inning.

No, Cain's performance was encouraging. He allowed 11 runners in five innings (with four walks), so I'm not going to pretend like he's in line for Cy Young votes this year. But he averaged 92 mph on the four-seamer and touched 94. His slider, in particular, was a good pitch for him, getting three swing-throughs and a number of called strikes. He started the day with a changeup, and he maintained his velocity throughout. Those are all good things.

More than that, though, I just enjoyed watching him pitch. The mannerisms, you know? How he mashes his palm to his face in exasperation after he gives up a hit, like a sitcom character told that his boss was coming over for dinner. The weird shoulder shrug that he does when he gets the ball back from the catcher. The Giants have had a lot of outstanding moments over the last decade, and Cain's been a part of most of them. It's just a treat to watch him pitch again.

We'll see how we're feeling if the dingers don't go away. Check back in a month.

Awful game. Awful series. But I like that Cain's back more than I dislike anything that's happened in the last few days. For a series against the Marlins and that stupid fog, I'll take it.

★★★

Cain's fateful homer to Bour:

bour

Ehhhhh, kind of. He didn't want to fall behind 2-0, sure, but if Cain is going to be pitcher he used to be -- or a reasonable facsimile -- that's not going to be the way he does it. The fastball was up, and even if it was in a little, it wasn't a great pitch. Not unless you throw 97.

The great pitches will come, though. There is room on the Matt Cain bandwagon, you know. We give you hot towels and free peanuts. Don't be discouraged.

★★★

The Giants have allowed 11 three-run homers this season, including one in each of the last three days.

The Giants have hit one three-run homer this season.

No, this isn't a way to complain about poor luck. For one thing, the Giants have hit four grand slams, which is tied for the most in baseball. Four runs on one swing are better than three runs. That's "math", a subject at which I am excellent. For another thing, have you noticed that the A's are 36-45, despite having a Pythagorean record of 46-35? That's crap luck to complain about.

This isn't something to complain about; it's something to marvel at. The Giants have had 384 plate appearances with two runners on base this year. Of those, 26 of them have been in Coors Field. Thirteen of them have been against Rubby De La Rosa, and 144 of them have come from the middle of the order.

They hit a homer in about two percent of their overall plate appearances, which means the Giants should have about seven or eight three-run homers by now. Instead, just one.

It's weird. And the Marlins won three straight games specifically because of a well-timed three-run homer, which is appalling and obnoxious.

Hit more three-run dingers, Giants. And stop giving them up.

★★★

Gregor Blanco is hitting exceptionally well right now, hitting the ball all over the field and crushing mistake pitches.

Gregor Blanco can sure make you appreciate just how much we take for granted when we watch baseball players not screw up on a regular basis. It's fun to complain but, really, baseball players just don't screw up that much. That includes Blanco.

But Blanco sure screws up more than the typical baserunner/outfielder. Little flubs and flooops here and there, like getting thrown out at third for the final out of an inning, or overrunning a ball, or phantom-flipping the ball to allow Dee Gordon to score, or muffing what should be a single and instead PUTTING THE TYING RUN OF THE WORLD SERIES ON THIRD BASE. You know, the little things.

He's still a good player, one of the best bargain pickups in decades, even. It'd just be a lot more understandable if he were, like, 22 years old.