- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
As the Rangers took batting practice in Texas on Friday, Matt Cain quietly ran the stairs in the lowest decks at the ballpark, running faster as he ascended and slowing as he descended. An executive who watched him mentioned that as the Texas bullpen melted down in the bottom of the eighth inning and a 2-0 game evolved into a 9-0 rout, what was lost was just how well Cain had pitched.
He throws hard, of course, but he had moved the ball around so well -- throwing a ton of breaking stuff away against Nelson Cruz, for example, before busting him inside with a fastball on a two-strike count, in the biggest moment of the game. The changeup he uses, when thrown properly, plummets straight down like a Trevor Hoffman changeup, instead of just fading horizontally.
And, of course, he did all this with his unusual mound presence: He wears none of the emotions of competition on his face, ever. Cain is affable by nature, and even when he's pitching with runners on base, he always looks like he's playing a round of golf on a Saturday morning with friends.
Cain is affable by nature, and even when he's pitching with runners on base, he always looks like he's playing a round of golf on a Saturday morning with friends.
Buster Olney examines why Matt Cain has been so successful and provides analysis of the World Series, in addition to the usual links.