Friday, July 19, 2013
Cain primed for second-half turnaround?
By Joe Kaiser
Few could have expected San Francisco to fall flat like it did in the two months leading up to the All-Star break, but the Giants return to action today at 43-51, 6.5 games behind division-leading Arizona in the NL West.
As much as the Giants have struggled to score runs this season -- 378 ranks No. 18 in all of baseball -- it's their poor starting pitching that's been an even bigger problem. All but Madison Bumgarner (and Chad Gaudin) have struggled mightily throughout the first half. But in the case of Matt Cain, there is reason to believe a second-half turnaround could be in store.
ESPN Insider Jared Cross listed Cain as one of five "aces" around baseball with a good chance to bounce back after the All-Star break. Here's Cross with more.
Jared CrossExpect a better Cain the rest of the way
"Cain has struggled mightily with runners on base this year: Hitters are slugging .553 against him with runners on base, compared to only .319 with the bases empty. For his career, however, batters have hit almost identically in these situations, slugging .364 with the bases empty compared to .366 with runners on. Claims that Cain is tipping his pitches when pitching from the stretch have been rebuffed and the simplest explanation is that he merely has suffered from bad luck this year, giving up hits at the worst times. Bill James created component ERA to estimate what a pitcher's ERA would be if his hits, walks and strikeouts were randomly sorted, eliminating the effect of hits coming in bunches -- Cain's component ERA this year is an impressive 3.38. In fact, Cain has the second-highest ratio of ERA to component ERA in baseball, and component ERA is a better predictor of what's to come than ERA itself.
Second-half projection: 6-4 W-L, 89.2 IP, 79 K, 8.0 K/9, 3.68 ERA, 1.22 WHIP"