Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Is Cain Able?

Seeing balls leave the ballpark is becoming more and more commonplace with Matt Cain. He has an okay game and then he serves up the tasty meatball for the batter to dig into. Makes me wonder if the teams he does okay against are closer to minor league level (due to the dilution of talent because there are so many teams in the major leagues) than if he is effective.

Listening to ballgames with Cain on the mound can really test one's patience. How he usually jumps ahead in the count, say no balls and two strikes and then the batter fouls one, two, three pitches off because Cain cannot get the ball past the hitter. Then he misses the strike zone (of the home plate umpire for that particular game) on the next two pitches and now the count is two balls and two strikes.

Again, Cain tries to slip one past the batter but the batter fouls yet another pitch off. The next pitch is too close to take and the batter manages to get a piece of the ball keeping the count at 2-balls and 2-strikes. This is getting to be the theme of Matt Cain on the mound, as the usual continuum of batters battle him until they get a pitch they can handle and the ball goes such a long way that it inspires the announcer to say something like, "... And you can tell it GOODBYE!"

All too often Cain struggles to get his pitch past the batter. So much so I'm beginning to think the batter is more adjusting to the umpire's strike zone than anything Cain is doing. He battles with each hitter and by the fifth or sixth inning he puts himself in a precarious position that makes him highly susceptible to throwing a gopher ball. (Definition of gopher ball: a pitch that is hit for a home run.)

This may be the Matt Cain we may come to expect until his contract expires.

Kevin J. Marquez