What’s up with the hamstring injuries? Having already lost Angel Pagan to a strained hamstring earlier in the week, while waiting for Hunter Pence to heal up from a nagging hamstring injury, the San Francisco Giants placed Matt Cain on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a bad hammy.
Cain sustained the injury pitching at Colorado on Friday. It’s probably a coincidence that three players on the same suffered pretty much the same injury, but the Giants might want to examine exactly what they’re players are doing during their schedule stretching time.
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Pagan is out at least two weeks, perhaps longer. Pence was in and out of the lineup the past few days, but played a full game Saturday, contributing two hits to the Giants’ 16-hit barrage against the Rockies, to take the second game of the series, 10-5. So, no major concerns there.
But Cain’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for him. After a miserable start to the season, Cain had been fantastic in his three starts prior to Friday’s game, giving up just four runs in 21 innings (1.71 ERA). And he appeared to be on his way to a fourth straight quality start, cruising against the Rockies in getting five outs with relative ease before having to leave in the second inning.
Success on the mound, like most elements of baseball—and sports, for that matter—is incumbent upon a pitcher getting into a good rhythm. Cain recently found his rhythm, something that had been missing all the way through May 5, when his ERA ballooned to 7.84 after giving up six earned runs in four innings—to the same Rockies he appeared poised to mow down Friday night.
At the time, many Giants fans and writers were calling for him to be removed from the rotation, convinced he would only continue to hurt the team. Then he figured something out against a strong Toronto Blue Jays lineup. His newfound effectiveness carried over into following starts, and people started to believe in him again.
Now, Cain will miss at least two weeks as he recovers from his leg injury. If he heals quickly, he could only miss two starts. But the more time it takes for him to recover and get back into a game, the greater the possibility that he loses the momentum—and the rhythm—he so desperately needed to get back to being the same Matt Cain who helped the Giants win three championships.