It’s May 10, and the San Francisco Giants currently occupy the eighth worst starters ERA in baseball.
Matt Cain looks to slowly help San Francisco chip away at that discouraging mark after Ryan Vogelsong fell doom to a four-run Atlanta Braves fifth inning Thursday night.
Cain, who currently sports a 5.57 ERA, had his second “good” start of the season against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday. He pitched 7.1 innings, allowed only one run and struck out four batters en route to his first win of the season.
Now, it’s about consistency, a trait that baseball pundits quickly connect to Cain despite his woes in 2013.
Cain did not face the Braves in 2012. But in six career starts, he’s 3-2 with a 3.16 ERA. Against the Braves at AT&T Park, however, he’s 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in 17 innings (three starts).
But let’s get the elephant in the room off the table: Will Cain’s struggles with the long ball and the Braves’ power-loaded lineup favor the Giants or the Braves?
Well, Cain has yielded nine home runs this year, which puts him in second place on the home runs allowed list. He and Ryan Vogelsong, who surrendered a homer Thursday, share that second spot.
The Braves, meanwhile, top the charts in the home run department as a team. To put that into perspective, everyone in their Friday night lineup has hit at least one home run this year. Justin Upton’s early-season power surge and Evan Gattis’ surprising power certainly gives the Braves an edge in that department, but they surely can hit the long ball.
But the catch: Cain hasn’t allowed a home run to a Braves player in his last 34 innings against them. Something will have to give.
Tim Hudson will oppose Cain. Hudson ended April by collecting his 200th career win, and thus far in 2013, he’s 4-1 with a 3.83 ERA.
Hudson’s been spectacular in his career against the Giants. In 18 career starts, he’s 8-4 with a 3.17 ERA, and he went 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA last year.
- The Giants haven’t beaten Tim Hudson since 2006
- Giants starter have gone 16-for-35 in quality start attempts this year