As I began to write this sentence, Jon Miller said “And Matt Cain gets the win on a night where he was anything but perfect!” That warmed the cockles of my black little heart, it did. Cain had nothing working for most of his five innings, alternating between hittable and wild, but he stubbornly kept throwing and mostly avoided meatballs when it counted, somehow wriggling out with only three runs. (It helped that he re-discovered his curveball later on.) And for his perseverance, he was rewarded with four perfect innings from a recently shaky bullpen, and five runs from a productive offense. It’s a Very Matt Cain Christmas.
So, you know. We were hoping for Cain to avoid the inevitable PG hangover, but a win was nice. Brandon Belt continues to impress, enough that hopefully he will soon be moved up the lineup and get on base in front of hitters more likely to drive him in. (Although, Brandon Crawford had his regularly scheduled extra base hit tonight, and that was cool.) Melky Cabrera and Ryan Theriot both had good games. Once again, this is a lineup that can score runs even when Buster and Pablo aren’t doing much of note, and that’s pretty cool.
And how about that bullpen? In the site of perhaps the most nightmarish, soul-crushing Giants bullpen collapse ever, shades of 2010 down the stretch. It was heartening to see Sergio Romo deployed as he should be, against the most dangerous right-handed hitters in the Angels’ lineup, no matter what inning. Jeremy Affeldt left his scud missiles back in the pen, Shane Loux was the Platonic ideal of the no-fuss middle reliever, and Santiago Casilla continues to give me all the hope in the world that Brian Wilson will take his time with his rehab.
Nice game. As bonus points, we got to see Mike Trout do ridiculous alien-from-Planet-Baseball Mike Trout things without having to take a hit in the standings for it. Tomorrow, Mr. Trout (and that Pujols fella) will bat against Barry Zito, so uh, that ought to be interesting.
As a sobering side note, Jerome Williams was taken to the hospital with respiratory issues some time after his start. At posting time, his wife says he’s doing much better and is being kept overnight for observation. Get better and pitch again, Jerome. And then pitch against Ryan Vogelsong sometime, because what the #$%#%#$