And a Man-Child shall lead them unto the Playoffs
I normally don't gush like this but how can I not: complete game victory, only 105 pitches but still with 8 strikeouts but only 1 walk and 2 hits with 1 run/ER. DOM-IN-ATING!!! And only in his third career start. I know it is not his first start but it has to rank up there with Marichial's 1-hitter in his first start and Bill Laskey's 7-0 shutout victory in his first start, in terms of great start to pitching career.
And just when we needed it, big time, to keep whatever shred of hope for the playoffs for this season. And he outpitched the Giants prior top pitching prospect, Jerome Williams, who did very well himself. But the contrast between the results of the two pitchers show why the Giants kept Cain but jettisoned Williams: Williams pitched 7 IP with 7 hits, 2 runs, 1 ER, 2 walks but only 1 strikeout. He refuses to strikeout batters for whatever reasons, despite his abilities to fool batters. And yet he had thrown 2 more pitches than Cain did - 107 vs. 105 - despite not striking out as many and going 2 innings less.
I loves the strikeout pitchers and Cain is the first one, really, since I first started following the Giants and had Montefusco as one of my fave players. And he not only dominated in that way but it was the way he pitched the 9th inning that really pushed me over the top in excitement. Most of you know the drill with how Giants starters attack the hitters in the top of the 9th, only slim 2-1 lead: they try to bite off the corners and not challenge any of the hitters.
But Cain, facing the top of the lineup plus Derrek Lee as the 3rd batter, the only hitter to get a hit off him all night and it was a homerun, challenged all of them. He even gave up a hit to the first batter and had to face Neifi Perez, Derrek Lee (why couldn't we have traded for him?), and Jeromy Burnitz with no out and a runner on first. And he retired the three of them on one pitch each, he challenged them with his fastball and got Perez and Lee to pop up and Burnitz to meekly ground out to Durham for the last out. DOMINATING!!!
He has the cajones to become the ace of the staff after Schmidt leaves the team and with the two of them we could have a pair of dominating, high strikeout starters like the D-backs had with Johnson and Schilling. Plus then we would put Lowry between the two of them to mix it up and what a playoff rotation that would be!!!
A Milestone... (of sorts)
And now I feel totally old because the Giants during the Sabean era had older players so the key players I rooted for were relatively close to my age and Barry is just a few years younger than I. Plus the farm system didn't really produce any good players to root for. But Cain will be the first one I consider a fave player to be young enough that he could have been my child.
But WOO-HOO, what a game, what balls, what a man!!! The Giants in 2006 looks like it will have a great rotation and bullpen, now we need to boost up the lineup (1B power hitter or 3B power hitter if we can trade either or both of Alfonzo/Durham; Feliz should really only be our backup LF/RF/3B as long as we have Bonds) and we could go all the way next year. To show my age (but those who know what I'm talking about, you're probably thinking the same thing), I've been mentally imagining Steve Martin doing his "Happy Feet" routine over and over again. And I've been fighting the urge to jump up and do it myself and to scream "YEAH" at the top of my lungs! I am just floating around internally.
I know I'm being premature but the signs look so good that I cannot help myself. I normally don't get so excited over an unproven prospect, not even for Lowry after what he did last season, but I just have this great feeling right now. Feel free to bring me down but it just feels so good right now.