The phrase “Cained” has been springing up throughout major league clubhouses over the past few years as a word to describe losing a close ball game, perhaps 1-0, or 2-1. This has come about in reference to Matt Cain, the San Francisco Giants starting pitcher. For those who watch him on a regular basis he is truly the man that makes the Giants staff go. When he takes the ball every fifth day, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. In a rotation with two former Cy Young award winners and a wicked lefthander with a no-hitter under his belt, Cain stood out this season as the only pitcher to record an ERA under 4 for every month of the year, finishing at 3.14. Go figure.
Over the past 4 seasons just 17 pitchers have compiled an ERA under 3.50. All of them except for Cain have winning records. Most are not even close to .500. But Cain is just 42-47. He is known for losing the close ball game. For whatever reason, the Giants hitters simply have not been able to come up with the big hit when they need it with Cain on the mound. Hence getting “Cained.”
In game 3 of the 2010 NLCS, Matt Cain had the fortune of ending up on the other side of a pitcher getting “Cained” as he shutout the Phillies for 7 innings en route to a 3-0 Giants win. It was his coming out party. Cain dominated Phillies hitters on a national stage, locating his fastball with precision, mixing in some deadly sliders, a hard-breaking curve, and a sinking changeup.
Cole Hamels wasn’t so lucky. Hamels looked nearly un-hittable through 4, but the Giants’ sporadic offense picked the perfect time to try and earn Matt Cain a new nickname. Cody Ross delivered another clutch hit to give the Giants a lead Cain would not relinquish. Maybe next year they can start to call it getting “Hameled.”
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