San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain will make his final major-league appearance Saturday. After that, Cain is done with baseball. The 32-year-old announced he would retire at the end of the season.
Cain is slated to start Saturday’s game against the San Diego Padres. He’ll oppose Jhoulys Chacin in the final start of his career. Over 119 1/3 innings, Cain has a 5.66 ERA.
Early in his career, Cain was a standout pitcher. He made his brief debut in 2005, posting a strong 2.33 ERA in limited time. In 2006, Cain turned in a solid rookie season, finishing fifth in the MVP voting.
He took a big step forward the following season. From 2007 to 2012, Cain was one of the best pitchers in the majors. He posted a 3.18 ERA, which was 26 percent better than the league average, over 1,299 2/3 innings. He went to the All-Star Game three years in that span.
Cain was also a major factor in the Giants’ multiple World Series runs. He was unstoppable in the 2010 postseason. Cain made one start in each of the team’s postseason series, and did not give up a run the entire postseason. He turned in a strong performance with the club in 2012, but was injured when the team won again in 2014.
After flirting with a few no-hitters early in his career, Cain finally came through in 2012. On June 13, he threw the first ever perfect game in Giants history. At the time, it was only the 22nd perfect game in baseball history. Cain struck out a career-high 14 Houston Astros in the win.
Right at the start of the 2012 season, Cain signed a $112.5 million extension to remain in San Francisco for the remainder of his career. At the time, it was the largest deal ever for a right-handed pitcher. He made $20 million in each season from 2013 to 2017. Cain’s run of effectiveness ended shortly after inking his mega-deal.
For the advanced stat crowd, Cain will also be remembered as one of the first pitchers to test the limits of FIP. Cain consistently outperformed the advanced metric early in his career. At first, analysts assumed it was just luck, but Cain was able to beat his peripherals for six straight seasons. He was the source of many nerdy debates during that period.
Injuries limited Cain’s effectiveness in recent seasons. He pitched just 90 1/3 innings in 2014 due to an elbow injury. His stats never really recovered. Since 2015, Cain has posted a 5.68 ERA over 269 1/3 innings.
Though his peak was relatively short, Cain will go down as one of the best Giants in recent history. He was a crucial member of the team’s recent dynasty, and spent all 13 of his seasons in San Francisco.
Expect the home crowd to give him one heck of a sendoff in his final major-league start Saturday.
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