If you throw a perfect game, it's going to be pretty hard to argue why you don't deserve to start in the All-Star game. Cain's performance was simply historic; there have been 22 perfect games since 1880, and six have happened in the last three years (I'm counting Armando Galarraga and now Cain).
Was Cain's perfect game a testament to his pitching ability or an indication that the steroids really did work back in the day? Probably a little bit of both.
But let's not overestimate the value of one game. Cain and R.A. Dickey have very similar stats this season. Cain got the nod to start in the All-Star game because his perfect game is more impressive than the number of one-hitters Dickey has thrown this season.
So who is to blame?
The fans select the starters, but it was Tony La Russa who chose Matt Cain over R.A. Dickey to start on the mound for the National League.
We could go back and forth about who is having the better season statistically, but the All-Star game is as much about giving the fans an entertaining product as it is about any real competition on the field.
While Cain certainly captured America's attention for a brief moment on June 13, it's been Dickey who fans have enjoyed watching emerge from nothing to something truly special for baseball.
Why not consider Philip Humber as a starter?
I don't want to knock Cain, but La Russa's snub on the knuckle ball was nothing short of a knucklehead move.
Here's a number to consider: zero. That's the number of knuckle ball pitchers who have won the Cy Young award. Dickey could become the first this season. How many people knew about this guy a year ago?
Between Dickey and David Wright, who got snubbed over Pablo Sandoval, the All-Star game is a reminder to Mets fans that no matter how great it may seem, you'll always be disappointed.
Lets look at a statistical comparison of the Cain vs Dickey:
Cain: 9-3, 2.62 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 118 K, 2 CG, 2 SHO, 120 1/3 IP,
Dickey: 12-1, 2.40 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 123 K, 3 CG, 2 SHO 120 IP,
It's pretty close, but it's even more reason to wonder whether Cain would've gotten the nod if he didn't throw a perfect game a month before the All-Star game.
Another thing to consider: When Dickey starts for the Mets, the team goes 14-3. When Cain starts, the Giants have gone 11-6.
To say that Cain is the better starter is not only a stretch, it's simply not true.
But La Russa snubbing Dickey could be the best thing that happened to him. Dickey clearly excels as the underdog. Many people didn't know who he was a year ago and certainly didn't believe he would be in the running for a Cy Young Award.
But look what he's done to put himself on the map and solidify himself as one of the premiere pitchers in the league this season.
I'm sure deep down Dickey wants nothing more than to rub a stellar second half of the season in the face of his doubters. And when it's over, Dickey should be sure to thank La Russa in his Cy Young speech.