Matt Cain earning shot to reach important milestone

Gaudin opens series against young fireballer in Miami

Matt Cain earning shot to reach important milestone
August 16, 2013, 3:30 pm
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After a shaky first half, Matt Cain has been improving, posting a 2.38 ERA in his last five starts. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

MIAMI -- The Giants have every reason to shut down Matt Cain before the end of the season.

Cain is giving them every reason to let him keep going.

Although Giants manager Bruce Bochy has discussed ways to limit the innings on starting pitchers down the stretch, he said he’s not apt to pull Cain from the rotation because the right-hander has rebounded so well in the second half.

[RELATED: Second half turning into first-rate grind for Posey]

“That’s what this is about – where they’re at with their delivery and velocity,” Bochy said. “He’s not showing any sign of fatigue. We’re certainly not going to stress these guys out, but we will keep a watchful eye on all those guys, including Matt.”

Fatigue might have been a partial explanation for Cain’s first half, which was plagued by home runs. He gave up 13 of them in his first nine starts, and had a 5.45 ERA as late as June 1.

But Cain has posted nine quality starts out of 12 since then, and those two rough starts heading into the break aside, he’s pitched like an ace again. He has a 2.38 ERA in his last five starts.

Cain still has some goals to pursue this season. He’s made between 31 and 34 starts every season in his career; he takes the mound Saturday at Marlins Park for the first of what should be eight more outings, which would put him at 32 for the season.

[RELATED: Drop in velocity puzzles Vogelsong]

The only major league pitcher with a longer streak of 30 starts in consecutive seasons is the Reds’ Bronson Arroyo, who is working on his ninth.

Cain would need to average just over 6 2/3 innings per start to reach 200 innings for the seventh consecutive season. That’s a streak that only one Giants pitcher can boast in the club’s San Francisco era: The great Juan Marichal, who had 10 consecutive 200-inning seasons from 1962-71.

Cain will get a chance to keep his streak going.

“As long as he’s throwing the ball well, we’ll let him go,” Bochy said.