Having To Pitch Perfectly: Lack of Run Support Has Hurt Matt Cain

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IJune 5, 2008

As I sat and watched Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants take on, and subsequently lose to the New York Mets on Wednesday at AT&T Park, I started to think to myself how a pitcher with so much talent can get so unlucky every five days.

It is no secret that the Giants offense has been nothing to brag about for the past few seasons, and the Giants' front office hasn't done much to make things better. However, when Matt Cain steps onto the bump, players and fans are expecting him to win. But with the Giants offense sputtering, how can he?

There was a point last season—excluding a 16-run outburst against the Colorado Rockies—when the Giants were averaging less than two runs a game when Cain started. This period was highlighted by a two-game stretch against the Oakland A's and Boston Red Sox, where Cain allowed only eight hits over 15 innings, and lost both games—by scores of 2-0 and 1-0, respectively.

In 2007, Cain finished 10th in the National League in ERA (3.65), but had fewer wins (seven) than legends such as Byung-Hyun Kim and Jorge Sosa.

So with last season supposedly put behind him, Cain took a fresh outlook on things this spring, thinking that he would have a few more runs to work with when he pitched.

However, while fellow 23-year-old Tim Lincecum has established himself as one of the best pitchers in the National League, Cain has taken a step back—showing that maybe what happened last year is still in the back of his mind every time an opposing teams player gets on first.

At this time last year, Cain's ERA was almost a one and a half runs lower than it is at the moment.

The biggest problem for Cain this year has been inconsistent control—a sign that he feels he has to make the perfect pitch every time, or else it will turn into another mark in the loss column.

While the Giants make the transition from old to somewhat younger, runs will be something that is in short supply in San Francisco. Hopefully, for Matt Cain's mental state, the bats will pick-up.