Oct 6, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain (18) before game one of the 2012 NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds at AT

Complete Analysis of Matt Cain's Start Against The Reds


Fastball

Cain threw a total of 30 fastballs against the patient but dangerous Reds’ lineup. Out of the 75 pitches Cain threw, 40% of them were straight fastballs in which the Reds only put the ball in play 6.7% of the time. He also threw 13 two seamers to offset his straight stuff which proved to be effective, as the Reds swung at the pitch 69% of the time.

However, they also put his two-seamer in play 46% of the time, which was the highest percentage out of any of his pitches by a decent margin. They also fouled it off 15% of the time to force Cain to expand his pitch type. Joey Votto fouled off his two-seamer and straight fastball multiple times during his first at-bat of the game which drove up the right-hander’s pitch count early, and allowed the rest of Cincinnati’s lineup to get a good glance at Cain’s stuff, specifically his fastball. Cain’s 17 first inning pitches were the second most out of the five innings he pitched. He threw 23 pitches in a two-run third inning for Cincinnati.

Change Up

Cain’s change up induced several swing and misses represented by 25% whiff percentage. Something to note is the fact that no Reds’ hitter fouled his change up off, proving how nasty it was on Saturday. However, he only threw it eight (10.7%) times out of his 75 pitches. Considering that the Reds’ struggled to see the pitch, it might’ve been a wise idea to throw it more until they proved that they could track it better.

Part of the reason why Cain found success with his change up, is the fact that he kept it out of the zone, throwing it for a strike 62% of the time. In the past, that number could be much higher or much lower. But Cain mixed his locations up very well, throwing it in the zone to freeze the Reds when they didn’t hack, but keeping it out the zone when they did swing.

Slider

Simply put, Cain’s slider wasn’t very effective on Saturday night. Not one Reds’ batter swung and missed at it, and Jay Bruce, who came into the game 6-13 off Cain, crushed a slider from Cain into the right centerfield seats to expand the Reds’ lead. Yes, Bruce was a bit out in front of the pitch, and it certainly wasn’t a hanger, but nevertheless, it was a goner thanks to his sheer strength.

Cain’s worst pitch of the night wasn’t to Bruce, but a slider to Brandon Phillips. After hanging a slider a couple pitches before in the same at-bat, he nearly threw the same pitch again, and Phillips didn’t miss it, crushing a two-run homer to put the Reds in front in the third inning.

Unlike his change up, Cain would have been better off recoiling from his slider after Phillips hit that home run. He threw it 16 (21.3%) times, the second most out of all his pitches. Plus, he wasn’t able to throw it in the strike zone, as he only threw it for a strike 31% out of the 16 pitches. This allowed the Reds to guess more accurately on his missed locations, as Phillips and Bruce displayed.

Curveball

The one pitch that Cain did have complete control over was his curve. He threw it in the strike zone nearly 90% of the time, garnering just one swing in miss, however. Out of the eight pitches, the Reds only put two of them in play and fouled two of them off.

Due to his solid command with his curveball, the Reds were forced to swing, as they hacked at the pitch five of the eight pitches (62.5%).

Cain’s curveball wasn’t quite sharp enough to fool anyone on Saturday, conceivably why he threw it minimally.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Matt Cain San Francisco Giants