Kruk and Kuip: 'Matt Cain was not going to be denied'
Gregor Blanco hangs on to third base following his two-RBI triple in the fourth inning on Saturday night. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
MIAMI – Matt Cain doesn’t turn green and his clothes don’t rip off his body or anything like that.
(It’s Andres Torres, actually, who has been known to spontaneously pop a button.)
But Cain can be like the Incredible Hulk in one respect. Don’t get him angry. To paraphrase Bill Bixby, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
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Cain didn’t get the call on Mike Stanton’s 2-2 checkswing in the sixth inning. And when Stanton clocked the very next pitch over the Clevelander go-go bar in left field, more than 440 feet away, the right-hander barked in anger.
Then he struck out the next three hitters in the Giants’ eventual 6-4 victory at Marlins Park.
“I was probably definitely heated,” Cain said.
With seven starts remaining, there’s no tamping down Cain’s ERA to elite levels and there’s no hope of pitching the Giants back into the playoff picture. But you’d need to be dizzy on gamma radiation to not notice that Cain is going about his starts in the same stern way he always does.
And that includes pitching with a scowl from time to time.
“It’s not a bad way to pitch,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, “as long as you can control it.”
Probably, definitely, Cain agreed.
“For me, I can’t do that the whole game,” he said.”It’s not possible. You can use those emotions for an inning, but I can’t pitch that way. It takes too much out of you.”
Whatever way he pitched the rest of the night, it was effective. Stanton’s homer accounted for the only two runs off Cain in his seven innings. He’s 8-8 with a 4.35 ERA, which is a steady improvement over the 5.06 ERA he carried into the All-Star break.
Cain still has a shot at 200 innings if he can average a little over 6 2/3 in his remaining seven starts. He’s glad that Bochy will give him a chance to finish out the season.
“That’s what I want to do,” Cain said. “That’s my plan. I want to make all the starts I can and finish on a good note.”
Marco Scutaro’s back has been an issue all year, but it stiffened up Saturday night as a direct result of the plunking he took on Friday. Bochy, who took Scutaro out in the sixth inning, already had planned to give his 36-year-old second baseman a day off Sunday.
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“There’s still time to get it calmed down, which it has at times,” Bochy said of Scutaro’s back. “He’s older. He needs his days. You’ve got to be honest with that.”
How close did third base coach Tim Flannery come to sending Gregor Blanco home to attempt an inside-the-park home run.
“I was right there on the trigger,” Flannery said, “until the shortstop got the ball.”