San Francisco Giants: Can The Rotation Recover From A Poor 2013?

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1. Matt Cain

The regression of Matt Cain was one of the biggest shocks of the 2013 season. After topping 200 innings in each of the last six seasons, the Horse only 184.1 innings in 2013 and pitching to a tune of a 4.00 ERA, his highest number since his rookie season. After being signed to a big contract extension the offseason before, much more was expected from the staff ace.

One of the biggest factors in Cain’s decline in 2013 was due to fatigue. He battled a dead arm and bone spurs in his elbow throughout the year. As mentioned earlier, he has pitched at least 200 innings in each of the last six years, ranking him among the league leaders in total innings pitched over that time. After a long World Series run in 2012, it was reasonable to expect Cain’s arm to be worn out.

Below is a chart of Cain’s ERA by month:

April – 6.49 (6 games started)

May – 3.48 (5)

June – 3.10 (6)

July – 8.40 (4)

August – 3.06 (5)

September – 1.61 (4)

As you can see, he began the year rough in April with a 6.49 ERA. He calmed down a bit in May and June, but then had a horrid July. After the All-Star break however, Cain looked a lot like his former self with a 2.36 ERA. This has led me to believe that much of Cain’s problems stemmed from a tired arm. Expect a bounce back season from the Giants’ horse.

Projected 2014 ERA: 3.06