Matt Cain's lack of wins troubling for Giants 

click to enlarge Giants right-hander Matt Cain has just one victory this season, though he has already had two stints on the disabled list. - BEN MARGOT/AP
  • Ben Margot/AP
  • Giants right-hander Matt Cain has just one victory this season, though he has already had two stints on the disabled list.

Anyone else sick of sabermetricians downplaying the importance of certain stats? Like batting average, or wins and losses?

I know I am, and it's not because I disagree with the impossible-to-refute notion that neither stat is an iron-clad indicator of quality in a ballplayer. There absolutely is such a thing as a "soft .300," and there have been more than a few guys who've won a ton of games without looking particularly impressive, and guys who've lost a bunch of game despite pitching lights-out.

But let's not dismiss these stats altogether. Soft or not, hitting .300 ain't easy. Sure, you'd like to see it paired with a healthier on-base percentage and such, but .300 is .300. It gets you into the Hall of Fame, and there ain't a single soft .300 hitter in the Hall.

Same goes for wins and losses, and here's where finally we get to the Giants. That Matt Cain has one victory as the season rolls into its third month cannot simply be dismissed with an indignant sabermetric response about the myriad variables in play.

Sorry. Not buying it. Not in this case. Shotgun Cain -- stop it with the "Horse" nonsense, already -- has one win. In June. That's a problem. And yes, I'm the guy who wrote during spring training that Cain's projected demise as the team's ace had been greatly exaggerated.

So if you, like so many Giants fans, really want to latch onto a legitimate reason to sweat over the Washington Nationals' neck-slap of a series victory this week, there you go.

Cain looked sharp in his return from the disabled list the previous week, sparking hope that he'd perhaps turn around what's been a steady 18-month slide. That hope took a huge hit when the Nats scored three runs on a hit and four walks in the first inning Wednesday.

Panic time? Not quite yet. But I'll bet even the sabermetricians among Giants fans would take an unimpressive W or three from the big fella right about now.

About The Author

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban

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