Sunday, October 28, 2012
Cain looks to win another clincher
By Andrew Davis & Kenton Wong, ESPN Stats & Information
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesMatt Cain will look to close out the sweep for the San Francisco Giants in Game 4 of the World Series Sunday.
Matt Cain gets the start Sunday as the Giants look to sweep the Tigers in Game 4 of the World Series
Although Cain hasn’t been as dominant this postseason as he was in 2010, he still has a chance to make some history. If he picks up the win, he’ll become just the third pitcher in MLB history to get the win in the clinching game of three series in a single postseason according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The others are Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees in 2009 and Derek Lowe of the Red Sox in 2004 (one of Lowe’s wins came in relief).
Finishing with the Fastball
Cain looked to have his stuff back in his last start against the Cardinals, helped by his ability to get outs when the count went to two strikes. In his first three starts of the postseason, Cain allowed seven hits (including three home runs) in two-strike counts. But in his last start, the Cardinals went 2-for-14 with four strikeouts. The key for Cain will be to use his fastball in two-strike counts, where opponents are hitting .087 (2-for-27) in two-strike at-bats ending with a fastball.
Among Tigers hitters, the only ones with significant history against Cain in the regular season are Prince Fielder and Omar Infante who have each gone 5-for-18 (.278) against the Giants righty.
Just like Cain, Max Scherzer brings the heat when he gets two strikes on a hitter. This postseason his average fastball velocity is 92.5 MPH when he has fewer than two strikes and 94.1 MPH when he has two strikes.
Last postseason Scherzer struggled mightily, allowing 10 runs in 15⅔ innings, but this year he’s been lights out – allowing one earned run in 11 innings while striking out 18.
The problem for Scherzer is that because he relies so heavily on strikeouts, his pitch count gets inflated. He reached the 90-pitch mark in the sixth inning of both his starts this postseason and didn’t finish either inning.
The Giants lineup on Sunday could feature up to six left-handed hitters – with the exceptions being Marco Scutaro, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence.
That shouldn’t be a problem for the Tigers’ flamethrower as he’s dominated lefties this postseason, allowing them only two hits in 29 at-bats while striking out 15.
Stats to Watch
• Only two teams have swept their League Championship Series only to be swept upon reaching the World Series: the 2007 Colorado Rockies and the 1990 Oakland Athletics.
• The Giants have four shutouts this postseason which is tied for the most in MLB history. The previous three teams to do it went on to win the World Series (2010 Giants, 1998 Yankees, 1905 Giants)
• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Giants have not trailed in their last 54 innings this postseason. That is six innings shy of the single postseason record set by the 2004 Boston Red Sox.