Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Kruk and Kuip on Cain

Cain had a masterful performance last Sunday against the A's, throwing a 1-hit shutout, his first of his career, and fourth youngest by a Giants pitcher and first since Schmidt had one in 2004, with the only down note being that he only struck out 5. But his fastball reached as high as 97 MPH, so he was cooking, and out of 120 pitches, he threw 80 for strikes. More importantly, out of the balls hit into play, he got 10 groundballs and 12 flyballs. Keeping the ball down is important for him because his nemesis this year has been the long ball.

Now onto Kruk and Kuip's comments on Cain. In their show on Monday, they positively glowed over Cain's performance, almost like new fathers. They noted that the A's lineup is full of disciplined and experienced hitters who are very patient and yet Cain was able to get through the lineup 3 times (4 for the top four of the order - he had 3 walks to go with the 1 hit - so he got by their #3 and #4 hitters 4 times). They said that these are premier fastball hitters and yet Cain was able to get them to swing through his fastball, causing the hitters to walk away shaking their heads. They ended by saying that it is hard to throw a fastball past a good hitter for the 3rd time, and yet Cain did that.

Hopefully he can build off this outing going forward. He actually pitched well, peripheral-wise, at the start of the season but the longball and bad luck hit him and he had poor results. That probably led him to press and perhaps change things to improve his performance but obvious things went really bad, forcing the Giants to skip one of his starts in order to get him going again. Looks like Righetti and Gardner were able to figure it out and get him going - maybe this will quiet the whispers of some fans who have been questioning Righetti's worth as pitching coach.

I hope this also silence the fans who were calling for Cain to be sent to the minors in order to start Hennessey. Cain showed in his 7 starts last season why he needs to be up here - he has nothing left to learn down in the minors. He needs to be up here, he needs to figure out how to be a major leaguer, he needs the team to show confidence in him and his abilities and not run away at the first sign of trouble. Hopefully this 1-hitter makes it ever clearer that the future is now, we need to see what he is made out of, we need to get him going here with the big club, particularly since we most probably will be losing our ace in Schmidt next season, and we need Cain (as well as Lowry) pitching up to their potential if we do lose Schmidty. But that 1-hitter was pretty damn sweet!

To steal from Freddie Prinze (and to date me :^): Looking gooood!

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