At one point it looked like Matt Cain was headed for a Hall of Fame career, but as his career comes to an end, he should be a San Francisco Giants Hall of Famer.
After the 2012 season when Cain was just 27 years old, you could have made a case that he was on pace for a Hall of Fame career.
He had five seasons with 13 wins ore more, and six straight seasons with an ERA of 3.75 or less. Cain had also thrown over 200 innings for six straight seasons.
His strikeout numbers where never huge, but from 2006-2012 he struck out at least 163 batters every season with a high of 193 in 2012.
But then something happened in 2013 that I don’t think anyone saw coming. He had an ERA over four for the first time since his first full season in 2006.
Some people called that a fluke, but then he was just as bad in 2014. From 2014-2016 he missed a lot of time due to injury problems and failed to pitch more than 100 innings in any of those seasons.
His last three seasons, including 2017, he had an ERA over five.
The Matt Cain that we all know and loved as a great pitcher ended after 2012. And since we’re so far removed from that season, a lot of people forget how great he was.
More from Around the Foghorn
- SF Giants: Checking in on the Tony Watson trade
- San Francisco Giants fans need this Captain Brandon Belt shirt
- SF Giants: Brandon Belt’s surge has powered winning streak
- SF Giants hitting prospects week in review (8/28-9/10)
- SF Giants: Pitching depth bolstered with waiver claim
No, he’s not going to make the Hall of Fame with just 104 wins — although he should have had 100 more with some run support — and a 3.69 ERA with 1,690 strikeouts.
But he does deserve to be considered a San Francisco Giants Hall of Famer.
He was a huge part of two World Series runs in 2010 and 2012. In 2010 he started three games — one in each round — and was nearly perfect in all three. He pitched 6.2 innings in the NLDS against the Braves allowing just one unearned run. Then he pitched seven scoreless against the Phillies in the NLCS, and capped it off with 7.2 scoreless innings in the World Series against the Rangers.
In the 2012 playoffs he pitched five games. He was roughed a bit against the Reds in the NLDS, but was great again in the NLCS and World Series.
Overall, he had a 2.10 ERA in eight career playoff starts. The San Francisco Giants won every playoff game he pitched in.
While he may not be headed for Cooperstown, he’ll always be a San Francisco Giants legend in my book. Thanks for everything Matt.