Giants Pitchers Better Get Used to Tough Losses

by The Giants Curmudgeon on August 23, 2007

Pitcher Matt Cain has been strong in nearly every start this year, yet his record remains a dismal 5-13. He has survived a test that would not be wished on any major league pitcher. The Giants simply cannot produce runs when he is on the mound. What’s going on?

The commentary all season long has been that Cain is having bad luck. While it’s tempting to chalk it up to misfortune, that’s really not the case.

The Giants have no offense, so the lack of run support is exactly what one would expect. It is not bad luck when the Giants don’t produce runs for him. It is the natural consequence of pitching for a team with no offense.

What’s remarkable is that Noah Lowry has been able to amass 13 wins with this offense behind him, and that Tim Lincecum has a winning record at 7-4. The real story is their good luck in getting that many wins, not Cain’s bad luck.

If Cain is being tested, he’s passing with flying colors. This 22-year-old has kept his cool all season long and continues to look strong on the mound despite the lack of run support behind him. Unlike a former Giants’ closer we all know, Cain doesn’t blame his losses on his teammates.

Cain and the other young pitchers on the Giants will be tested for another season, when a rebuilding Giants team will likely have a similarly weak offense and no bullpen next year.

Any Giants’ starter who expects a lot of wins better start pitching complete game shut outs. Barring that, Giants starters will need to brace themselves for tough losses.

Lincecum’s outing this Tuesday is a perfect example of what the future holds. He pitched a flawless 8 innings against the Cubs. But the Giants scored just one run to support his effort, and the Giants’ 1-0 lead was squandered by the bullpen when the Cubs scored 5 runs in the top of the ninth.

In addition showing that he is a quality starter, Cain has accomplished something important this year that will serve the Giants well next year. Cain has set an example for his fellow starting pitchers (all of whom are older than him) of how to keep your cool and stay positive while pitching well for a losing team.

That is a skill that Lincecum, Lowry and the other young Giants pitchers will need to master as the Giants rebuild this franchise.

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