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Double Dips: The Matt Cain problem

Matt Cain searches for answers

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What happened to Matt Cain, peripheral-busting star? (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)

As always, consider every two-start pitcher to be tentative. Sometimes plans change, sometimes pitchers get dinged, somtimes it rains.

1. Clayton Kershaw (at KC, STL)
2. Felix Hernandez (BOS, CLE)
3. Chris Sale (at BAL, at TOR)
4. Zack Greinke (at KC, STL)
5. Alex Cobb (PIT, at BAL)
6. Jeff Samardzija (CIN, WAS)
7. Tim Hudson (SD, CIN)
8. CJ Wilson (MIN, at KC)
9. Bartolo Colon (OAK, at PIT)
10. John Lackey (at SEA, at NYY)
11. Andrew Cashner (at SF, ARI)
12. Gio Gonzalez (at MIL, at CHC)
13. Justin Masterson (at ARI, at SEA)
14. Homer Bailey (at CHC, at SF)

Although Bailey's K/BB rate is moving slightly in the wrong direction, his big problem is the homer issue. How much do we fault someone for gopheritis? I've tried to be patient, but I can't make Bailey a Top 10 guy until he gives us a show of good faith. 

15. Alfredo Simon (at CHC, at SF): FIP doesn't believe: 4.44 suggested ERA.
16. Mark Buehrle (NYY, CWS): Best HR rate of his career, be careful.
17. Matt Garza (WAS, COL): A 2.89/1.15 guy at home, getting crushed on road.
18. Jose Quintana (at BAL, at TOR): Unlucky strand rate, FIP says 3.01 true ERA. 
19. Kyle Gibson (at LAA, at TEX): Three straight bagels, eight whiffs in last. 
20. Drew Smyly (at TEX, at HOU): Arlington hasn't bitten people thus far. 
21. Nathan Eovaldi (at PHI, OAK): Just one big K game in last eight.
22. Andrew Heaney (at PHI, OAK): At least Oakland is on the road.
23. Chase Whitley (at TOR, BOS): Hasn't had a blow-up start yet.
24. Wei-Yin Chen (CWS, TB): Last four: 25.1 IP, 6 ER, 2 BB, 20 K.
25. Scott Feldman (ATL, DET): Since injury return: one win, 5.49 ERA.
26. Matt Cain (SD, CIN)

Velocity isn't the issue with Matt Cain - he's been chucking at essentially the same velocity for five straight years (and he's up a tick this season). But he's getting fewer swinging strikes over the last two years, and his long-running pixie dust with homers finally wore off. He had a career-worst 10.8 HR/FB clip last year, and it's ballooned to 15.1 this season.

And then there's the K/BB rate, a mere 2/1 for 2014. In today's strikeout-heavy world, that won't do.

Cain's been a little unlucky with the home/road draw, only making 4-of-11 turns at AT&T thus far. He'll enjoy the home cooking this week. But although his WHIP is tidy at home, he's also caring a 3.71 ERA there. We've witnessed Cain problems for almost a year and a half now; perhaps it's time to ditch the name brand and accept the new reality. 

27. Jeff Locke (at TB, NYM): Three good turns, won't walk anyone.
28. Lance Lynn (at COL, at LAD): The wrong style for Coors, obviously. 
29. Jeremy Guthrie (LAD, LAA): No strikeout upside, needs to be perfect with location. 
30. Colby Lewis (DET, MIN): Pitched better than 5.97/1.86, but so what?
31. Aaron Harang (at HOU, at PHI): Finally crashed like most expected. 
32. Yovani Gallardo (WAS, COL): As consistent as a paper cup in a hurricane. 
33. Jorge De La Rosa (STL, at MIL): Three feet high and rising. 
34. David Buchanan (MIA, ATL): Another reason to like Heaney (first opponent). 
35. Jhoulys Chacin (STL, at MIL): Not enough grounders, hellish K/BB clip.
36. Edinson Volquez (at TB, NYM): OK, maybe Pirates can't fix everyone. 

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