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If you had told me the San Francisco Giants would be up 2 games to none in the World Series exactly four weeks ago I would be shocked. At that point, the Giants were on the verge of a pretty big collapse having lost two straight games at home to the Padres when they only needed to win one to clinch a playoff birth. In the first game of that series, Matt Cain gave up 9 hits and 6 earned runs while lasting only 4 innings. The Giants limped into the playoffs, but as Kirk Gibson will tell you sometimes that’s all you need this time of year.

Assuming the Giants can win two of the next five games, the media is going to turn someone into a hero. That’s what happens when teams win championships. Unlike the past four champions (Alex Rodriguez winning his first, Chase Utley or Ryan Howard before that, the pesky Dustin Pedroia in 2007, and of course Albert Pujols in 2006) there isn’t going to be an obvious offensive player to remember from this team. Tim Lincecum’s status will probably be elevated one notch higher than it already is despite the fact that he won’t be taking home his third straight Cy Young Award, but the guy that will get more attention than even Lincecum deserves to be Cain. Since that awful start against the Padres, Cain has really turned it on. He has pitched against three different lineups and not allowed an earned run in 21.1 post season innings.

Cain has been a really good pitcher by fantasy standards over the past couple seasons. Most people would probably argue that he’s always been overshadowed and undervalued. The past two seasons, he’s finished Yahoo ranked in the top 50. That said, should Cain be a top fifty pitcher? He only strikes out about 7 hitters per 9 innings and his xFIP this past season was 4.19. He had the best WHIP of his career, but some of that can be attributed to a .260 BABIP against. If Cain gets one more start, there is a good chance he’ll be taking the hill in a clincher which will be watched by more people than any game all season. Fox will no doubt hit us over the head with the fact that nobody has scored against him all postseason and if he pitches well (good chance he will at home), all those eyes tuning in will have that lasting memory until their draft next March.

Cain is a really good pitcher. I’m not ready to take him in Round 4 just yet. If you’re hoping to get him at a good value next season, you better hope the Padres come to play in Game 6.

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3 Responses to Matt Cain’s Dominance Could Lead to Overrating in 2011

  1. Charlie Saponara says:

    Plus one from me one this article.

  2. Big Mike says:

    Excellent points … until the last paragraph.

  3. Schruender says:

    Ha. I know. The Padres, but hey they were the last team to not only show a pulse against Cain but also knock him out early.

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