Matt Cain has spent his entire career in a Giants uniform. Before the season began, he signed an extension — guaranteeing that he will stay a Giant until at least 2017.
Criminally since his first MLB start in 2005, the offense notoriously never scored runs for him. That may be hyperbole at times, but there were times in his career where he had the lowest run support in the entire league, maybe even all of baseball.
A new term was coined for pitchers with a notorious lack of offense or the bullpen imploding or the defense being shoddy: “Cained” That’s what it meant to be “Cained.” But mostly, it was a lack of offense.
On the numbers side, Cain is a statistical anomaly. Sabermetrics showed that his FIP and xFIP wasn’t necessarily considered above average, some fans thought he wasn’t good because he didn’t have the wins. But when he took the mound, you just knew he’s a dominant pitcher who will amaze you.
Cain is a man who breezed through the postseason in 2010, putting up a scoreless ERA and shutting down powerful offenses. Regardless of the statistic, it didn’t matter when he pitched.
But tonight — this year, even — it’s been a different story. Most of the time. There were starts where he didn’t get the runs, but he pitched spectacularly. The Giants’ home opener — he gave up only one hit and it was in the 6th inning.
In 2012, when you see that Matt Cain is pitching, you know it’s going to be a good game. He dueled Cliff Lee into the extras with a scoreless line. He flirted with no-hitters, struck guys out.
In short: Matt Cain.
Tonight was no different. Matt Cain on the mound, you knew it would be a good game to watch.
Giants scoring runs? Hey, that’s a nice change. 10 runs in support? Wow. Amazing.
Six or seven innings in, it started becoming real.
He might actually do this. This is possible. It’s Matt Cain. This is baseball. Anything can happen.
Buster Posey called all the right pitches, Gregor Blanco made an amazing catch to save the bid.
It was happening.
With two out in the 9th, Jason Castro came in to pinch hit for Xavier Cedeno.
Called strike. Ball. Called strike.
In play: out(s).
A grounder to third. Joaquin Arias fields it, throws to Brandon Belt. In the middle of the throw, hearts skipped a beat. Not even a doubt about it anymore.
Matt Cain was perfect.
From the jetpack guy in McCovey Cove to Gregor Blanco’s catch, no one could’ve asked for more perfection at Mays Field. From the absurd to the unbelievable, it was perfect.
There were 21 perfect games thrown prior to tonight. To paraphrase The Baseball Project: Why don’t we add Matt Cain to the list?