Is Matt Cain the starter with the hardest luck in baseball?
The Giants hurler has a career 3.51 ERA, but is a paltry 50-59 overall. Cain has made the All-Star roster just once in his 6 seasons, and was a snub from this year’s voting when you consider that he has the same number of quality starts this season as Tim Lincecum (13).
So much of the reason why Cain is 6-8 this year despite a 3.34 is because he gets little in the way of run support.
Among starters with at least 100 innings pitched this year, Cain ranks 4th in regards to lowest run support average, receiving just 4.52 runs of support per start (per 9.0 IP). In 2007 and 2008, he was dead last in run support among starters with 140 innings.
Matt Cain, Run Support Avg Last 4 seasons
Cain has been a workhorse since his first full season in 2006. In that span, he is tied with Mark Buehrle for the 7th-most innings pitched in the majors, and ranks 13th in strikeouts. Among starters to log at least 750 innings since Cain’s arrival in 2005, his 3.51 ERA ranks 10th in the MLB, ahead of names like Cliff Lee, Dan Haren and John Lackey. Yet Cain is the only pitcher in the top 17 of that list with a sub-.500 record. A look at some comparable career ERAs among active pitchers:
Comparable Career ERA to Cain, Active players
When you look at some of the comparable career ERAs, it is astounding that Matt Cain’s winning percentage is that low.
This season, he’s tied for the lead with Roy Halladay and Adam Wainwright for the most starts with 8 innings pitched and no earned runs allowed. With men on base this season, hitters have tallied only a .587 OPS, and batters are hitting just .196 against him at home.
The only question that remains is, what more does Matt Cain possibly have to do to win? He may just have to improve on his career .113 batting average.