Matt Cain was awesome last night. And the Phillies bullpen hasn't been awesome, but it's maybe better than you think. Some links:
ESPN Stats & Info has a closer look into Matt Cain's perfect game. Watching the game, it was clear that Cain was moving his pitches all over the strike zone, with command and precision rarely seen. Stats & Info numbers verified this observation, as Cain threw 66 heaters at an average velocity of 91.6 mph (his fastest of the season) and changed eye levels with the pitch, gaining at least eight outs in each vertical location.
Chris Quick of Bay City Ball has a nice take on Cain's perfection. Chris writes: "I think it comes down to this: he’s our guy. He’s always been our guy. We’ve watched Cain since he broke into the big leagues in 2005 at the tender age of 20-years-old. We’ve watched him grow and develop. We’ve watched him arrive to the majors as a flame-thrower, only to develop into a pitcher with pinpoint control that can spot all of his pitches wherever, and whenever, he wants. We’ve watched Matt Cain lose low scoring game after low scoring game, often no fault of his own." Anyway, read the piece, especially since it also includes a gif of Gregor Blanco's amazing catch.
FanGraphs writer (and ESPN Insider contributor) Wendy Thurm is a Giants fan. Here's her excellent piece on Cain's game.
Buster reports that the "perfect game" crew umpired Cain's game. Brian Runge, Ted Barrett, Marvin Hudson and Dale Scott have now umpired Philip Humber's and Cain's perfect games as well as the Mariners' combined no-hitter. Runge was behind the plate for Humber and the Mariners while Barrett became the first umpire to call balls and strikes for two perfect games. He was the home-plate umpire for David Cone's perfect game.
The Phillies currently rank 13th in the NL with a 4.21 bullpen ERA. Charlie Manuel's use of Jonathan Papelbon has drawn fire. But Crashburn Alley's Bill Baer argues that Philly's pen hasn't been that bad. Bill writes, "Based on the things a pitcher has the most control over, the bullpen has actually done a decent job. Their collective 2.89 K/BB is second-best in the league behind the Cincinnati Reds (2.93) and fourth among all 30 teams. Their 3.75 xFIP places them in the top-ten in the Majors as well."
I love when Paul Lukas runs his design contests. Here, readers submit proposals for new uniforms for the Houston Astros.
Within that piece: I didn't realize Pedro Alvarez wears his cap over his ears. No, it's not to cover up the boos. Alvarez is from New York and that's the style the kids wear there.
More Uni Watch: A fun list of MLB's top 10 uniform quirks and oddities.
R.A. Dickey also had a pretty good game on Wednesday. Stats & Info with a closer look.
Dickey missed a no-hitter on David Wright's failed barehand attempt in the first inning, a play that could have been ruled on error. Mark Heilig of our Rays blog remembers a similar scoring decision when Tim Wakefield was once chasing a no-hitter.
Finally, Larry LaRue is the excellent writer for the Tacoma News Tribune. He's been covering the Mariners since the 1980s. He has a nice piece on his 34 years of writing about baseball.