Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Matt Cain- (Is he) not Able?

When it comes to raw ability nobody argues that Matt Cain possesses his share and then some, but so do most of the players in the major leagues, or they wouldn't be in the bigs, right?

Why doesn't Matt work on the execution of moving runners along either by bunt or making contact to a particular side of the field, opposite of where the runners will be going if he puts the ball in play? Or in fielding his position, does he put in the time to make sure that he is in position to field balls up the middle, near the mound?

He often gives the appearance of not having an idea about certain situations, relying only on his God-given ability. So when he goes mano y mano with another big leaguer, it just might be that the player with the "idea" is the one who wins most battles. Oh, sometimes, the hotter of the two, or perhaps at that moment, the better of the two, comes out on top. But in the long haul, say 4 at-bats, the opposing batter will get his knocks. And even if the batter did come out on the short-end by getting an 0-fer, if he was able to execute enough to move the runners along, maybe that was the deciding factor in the game. In other words, Matt Cain may win the individual battles but in the end does his team win the game?

I'm not in the clubhouse or at their facilities to see just how hard Matt Cain works at his craft, which should include the bat (preferably not maple or someone's safety could be at risk, eh?). I just wish he and most pitchers would use the approach of Gregory Alan Maddux, "Mad Dog" to his teammates.

Greg Maddux just goes about his business with a plan in mind. And he's going to do everything physically possible to put his team in the best position of winning the game. He won't walk batters. He'll move runners up one base, he will not be an "easy" out. And he'll rob hitters-who are trying to go back up the middle-more often than not. What was the old Clint Eastwood line in Magnum Force.."A man's got to know his limitations." Well, Greg Maddux knows his limitations but his opponents believe them to be ad infinitum.

From 1990 thru 2002 inclusive, Greg Maddux won the Gold Glove award. Then he won it again in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. He won 4 Cy Young Awards in 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995.

I used to think he, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz were the benefactors of the greatest strike zone known to a baseball fan. But after watching those 3 pitchers play ball for the length of time they have and for all three of them to maintain the ability to execute as they have, I came to realize that my only gripe was that I was not an Atlanta Braves' fan. I hated those guys because they were the best and it bothered me to no end how the umpires favored them. It was like my teams' only chance of defeating them was if the calls were fair but they were that good and my jealousy got the best of me.

I'd just like to see Matt Cain use every possible outlet he has so that he may execute every play to the best of his ability and to get the best results for his team. Because as long as he puts his team in the position of winning the ballgame that is and shall always be first and foremost.

Kevin Marquez (thanks to Baseball-Reference)