Don’t look to catcher to figure out Matt Cain’s struggles 

click to enlarge Giants right-hander Matt Cain isn’t off to the best start this season, but don’t look too much into it. - DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/AP
  • David Zalubowski/AP
  • Giants right-hander Matt Cain isn’t off to the best start this season, but don’t look too much into it.

Had Matt Cain not been scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday, he would have been throwing to Hector Sanchez, in for the great Buster Posey, for the fourth time this young season.

Think about that. Four times among Cain's first six scheduled starts, Giants manager Bruce Bochy decided to go with a young, inexperienced and somewhat defensively challenged backup catcher to steward his veteran horse instead of the former NL MVP who's guided two pitching staffs to World Series rings.

Where's the buzz? Where's the scandal? Where are all the rumors?

Isn't this about when we start wondering why it's happening? After all, Cain hasn't been "Mr. Perfect" -- or anything remotely close to perfect -- for quite some time. He was average at best in 2013, and he's off to a disturbingly slow start in 2014.

And now he's being handled primarily by a backup? What the hell? What's going on between Cain and Buster? Trouble in paradise?

If you're sensing a little tongue in cheek right about now, congrats. Very perceptive. If you're also sensing a little familiarity, that's spot-on, too.

Placed it yet? Of course you have. You've been through this whole bit of ridiculousness before, when Tim Lincecum started to lose a little shine. Difference is, the last time it was going on, you more than likely were taking it seriously, feeding the frenzy.

Why doesn't Buster catch Timmy anymore? They used to make such sweet, winning music together. Must be a rift. Yeah, that's it. They don't get along! Timmy doesn't trust Buster. Buster doesn't respect Timmy. What the hell happened? Let's ask 'em. Repeatedly!

Turns out, of course, there was no rift. Timmy and Buster get along just fine. Always have. But when the wildly successful norm becomes less than, we stretch for explanation.

Why no stretching now? The same thing's happening to Cain.

Maybe it means there's hope for us, after all. Maybe we finally get it. When big-leaguers struggle, maybe the reason is as simple as this: baseball's just plain hard.

About The Author

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban

Bio:
Mychael Urban has been covering Bay Area sports for 25 years and has worked for MLB.com, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and KNBR (680 AM).
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