Matt Cain’s perfect game last night was judged by Game Score to be the second best pitching performance in a nine inning game of all time, and it would be hard to argue against it. Using words like dominant, amazing or incredible not only fall short in describing what happened at AT&T Park last night, they don’t seem necessary. A perfect game is all of those things and when you learn that Cain threw one, you expect it would be a dominant performance, an amazing thing to witness and an incredible feat.
However, what I think people using these terms want to convey is that it was something beyond just a perfect game. We’ve already seen one of those this year when Phil Humber didn’t allow a baserunner against the Seattle Mariners, and while the Houston Astros hardly have a significantly more potent offense than their soon to be division rivals, Cain’s complete and utter domination of that Astros lineup was a more powerful performance and one that I fear, given what we saw Humber do and the highlight reel catch made by Gregor Blanco, might actually be under appreciated.
Ensuring this doesn’t happen are the following posts, pieces and recaps:
From Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles:
This was a night where the big picture and the little picture merge together in the same storyline. It’s about the game in isolation — the best pitching performance I’ve ever watched. But it’s also improved by the larger story, the idea of Matt Cain showing up in San Francisco a couple of years after his prom, morphing into one of the better pitchers in the game, winning a championship, and sticking around for a decade or two. Which is all to say, Cain pitching a perfect game — and doing it at home in front of a raucous crowd — is just about the best story imaginable.
From Chris Quick of Bay City Ball:
Matt Cain has always been a joy to watch. In the truest sense of the word, he’s become a pitcher. And a damned good one, too. And he’s our guy. He’s still our guy. And he’ll always be our guy. So, to see Cain throw the franchise’s first perfect game in Giants history is the ultimate treat. The perfect reward for fans that have watched Cain mature, watched him develop. But man, this game was one of the best I’ve ever seen. I still can’t wrap my head around it. But it totally makes sense that Cain was the one to do it. Just total, complete sense.
From Julian Levine of Giants Nirvana:
As the game progressed, the anticipation grew exponentially. More nervousness, anxiety, excitement. By the seventh inning, every pitch had me on the edge of my seat, holding my breath. I say this having watched no other perfect game from start to finish, but I can’t imagine a more nerve-wracking perfect game. Cain was so dominant tonight that it was almost his undoing, odd as it sounds. Nobody was reaching base, but since Cain was racking up the strikeouts — 14, to be exact, he also had a pretty high pitch count going. Through seven innings, Cain was already over 100 pitches on the night, averaging 4.9 pitches per plate appearance. I can’t remember exactly how many times he ran the count full, but every time it happened, I feared it would all end. But Cain did it. With a little luck, a little help from his defense, and a whole lot of Matt Cain-ness, he retired 27 Houston Astros in order.
From Dave Schoenfeld of ESPN SweetSpot Blog:
Why do we check those West Coast box scores one last time? Because we do. Because we’re lucky enough to be baseball fans, and obsessed enough to believe anything is possible. That maybe on a random evening in the middle of June, in a packed ballpark on a beautiful night in San Francisco, a little magic just might happen. Why we believe cannot be explained. We do. We watch. We stay up too late. It’s a wonderful game, this baseball.
From Andrew Bagarly of Comcast Sportsnet (Bay Area):
The Giants announced a sellout crowd of 42,298. Many, many more will claim they were there on this cool Wednesday night. Matt Cain, already an All-Star, a beloved Giant and a decorated postseason hero, grooved his name ever deeper into franchise lore. The stoic rock of the staff became the first Giant in the franchise’s 129-year history to throw a perfect game.
From Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants:
And The Rest
Almost overshadowed in all of the excellence of Matt Cain is that New York Mets starter R.A. Dickey also had an incredible start last night, giving up only a single hit to the Tampa Bay Rays. [Amazin Avenue]
Major League Baseball is reviewing the Jose Valverde spitball incident that was caught on camera earlier this week. [ESPN]
Stephen Strasburg became the first pitcher in baseball to record 100 strikeouts this season. [FanGraphs]
Oakland Athletics center fielder Yoenis Cespedes’ comeback from an injured hamstring lasted all of two innings. [SI.com]
Doctor says that Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Freddy Galvis needs a backiotomy. [MLBlogs]
Arizona Diamondbacks reliever J.J. Putz is super stoked about his Justin Bieber autographed trading card. [Twitter]
The Boston Red Sox and reliever Bobby Jenks are attempting to work out a contract settlement so that both parties can go their separate ways. [Extra Bases]
A son of Enrique Soto, one of the most powerful trainers in the Dominican Republic over the last two decades, used a false age when he signed with the Mariners in 2007. This is apparently a piece of very important news for the international baseball scene. [Baseball America]
On the latest Getting Blanked Show, we discuss Bryce Harper’s now infamous “That’s a clown question, bro” response talk about the Washington Nationals’ decision regarding Stephen Strasburg’s inning limits. Then, we shift gears to imagine Tim Lincecum coming out of the bullpen to relieve Barry Zito, before bringing it all back home with a look into some of the more popular fielding metrics that are being used. [Getting Blanked]