Baseball has a way of balancing itself out eventually if a player or team gives it time. Unfortunately, injuries play a key role when baseball isn’t fair for a player’s career. But when an athlete perseveres, they will always get that one chance to get their career back. Just as Matt Cain has.
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The balance of baseball reared its beautiful head in the very first inning last night. After a “here we go again” swinging-bunt single by Dexter Fowler, Trevor Brown gunned him out trying to steal second. At that point, it seemed like the balance had been restored for Matt Cain, and the rest of the game would be a breeze.
Of course, that was before Kris Bryant singled to right on the next pitch. It made the “swinging bunt for the only hit of the game” point moot, but also put Cain back in the stretch, just as the winds were beginning to change.
Anthony Rizzo flied out to right, and then Cain snared a liner back up the box to say “Not today fellas!”
In the bottom of the second, After Matt Duffy lined out and Trevor Brown flied out to left, Brandon Crawford returned the “swinging bunt” favor with his own down the third base line. Gregor Blanco then walked on a 3-2 pitch, and unceremoniously Cain walked up to the plate.
His last hit had been on May 10th, 2014, and running into one was the furthest from people’s thoughts with Jon Lester on the mound.
But Cain’s two-out 3-2 double to deep left-center did more than break a 0-0 tie, there was a sense that Cain broke through the final barrier. And a W was going to be beside his name that night.
Buster Posey homered in the third, and catcher Trevor Brown drove in a run on an apparent double, but was called out at second after review. (He was safe, the amazing instincts of him on that play were on display. Great slide!)
Cain would finish the sixth, having given up a Bryant home run to center in the top of the third. It was a solo shot, so the damage was minimal.
He pitched with a lead, and battled all game long. He ended up striking out the final three Cubs he faced.
After the bullpen held on for the 5-3 win, Cain was in the win column for the first time since July 22, 2015. His ineffectiveness early on was always seen as a “rust” thing in my eyes, and he is turning the curve on his way to a balanced second half of his career.
And when I say balanced, I mean that since he has pitched like a Cy Young several seasons in his career, he will now reap the benefits of persevering through his injuries.
This won’t be the last victory for Matt Cain in a Giants uniform, and if his success continues, he may help the team with a few postseason wins this year as well.
And the Dodgers lost, the balance in baseball is beautiful.