As an educator, your dream is to watch the kids you’ve led to reach personal, and set milestones. I was at a graduation yesterday for a few hours on a night that happened to coincide with a personal milestone for many members of the San Francisco Giants organization, and because of that, was unable to watch the game until today from beginning to end.
You know the story: Matt Cain looked good early — as if he was floating on water, you could say, continued to dominate the second time through the order, and with the help of his defense swimmingly advanced and chomped down on the Astros to complete the 22nd perfect game in MLB history. You’ve heard Matt Cain’s “Game Score” was 101. Did you know J.A. Happ’s was only 10? J.A. Happ’s Game Score was not even 10% as good as Matt Cain’s. Incredible. You know about the 14 strikeouts, with an even distribution of 7 looking and 7 swinging. You know Matt Cain didn’t shake off one pitch by Buster Posey.
Remember this? This shot off the bat could have made yesterday just another game:
That ball hit by Jordan Schafer ruled foul kept the game perfect. This, of what I consider to be one of the four major plays of the game, is the one most overlooked, but astute fans remember this and wipe their brow remembering what almost was. For the record, I thought this ball was fair, but I’m not putting any asterisks by anything.
Defensive changes were made in the 7th. Brandon Crawford to Short, Joaquin Arias to 3rd. I don’t know about you, but I was scared anything hit to them would spell the end for Cain, much like Juan Uribe did for Jonathan Sanchez in 2009. They did not disappoint. When Dave Flemming said “broken bat” in the 8th, I panicked. When I heard the ball was going to Brandon Crawford, I hoped nothing kooky would happen, and when what would be the final out when to Joaquin, and he gathered himself as he sidestepped to his right, my fiancee and I let out a cry of desperation for Arias to make the throw, and for the runner to not make it. We were not disappointed, and neither were fans of the national pastime.
A “wonderful” night, as Coach Harbaugh said. Matt Cain’s pitching was wonderful, and let me show you how it was wonderful:
This is a pitch speed graph showing you the speed and the numbered pitch at which Matt Cain threw it. Notice the consistency in the 90’s, and that it doesn’t regress, suggesting he tired. If anything, it got a little bit better as the game went on. You can even see he reached back for what would be the final pitch of the game. And now, a pitch plot:
The two-seamer (“FT”) was a beautiful strikeout pitch, but you can see here the Astros had pitches to hit all night (look at the two hanging curveballs (“CU”)). It is not Matt Cain’s fault that the Astros couldn’t be better than him because Matt Cain is better than you. That’s just the way it is. Here is a shot of Gregor Blanco, who made my favorite play of the night:
Matt Cain, your thoughts?