When it comes to Matt Cain, I like to think he's similar to Optimus Prime, my favorite character from my favorite movie growing up as a kid, "The Transformers: The Movie." You know, because he has the whole, "More than meets the eye," thing going for him. (Not so much because he turns into a red truck when he's not pitching; but I digress.)
The San Francisco Giants drafted Matt Cain in 2002 and at the time I don't think they knew they had drafted what would become a cornerstone of their franchise. Since his major league debut in 2005, Matt Cain has been solid for the Giants. He didn't have the best years in 2007 and 2008, with records well-below .500 and ERAs in the high threes, but he still was able to eat a lot of innings each year (200-plus-per) -- with 160-plus strikeouts in each season.
So far in 2012, Cain is on pace to have his best season yet. Based on the last three seasons - when he started 33 games each - Cain is exactly one-third of the way through this year with 11 starts. He is currently on pace to pitch well over 200 innings, earn over 200 strikeouts, and have the lowest ERA of his career. Not to mention that for just the second time in his career, he has at least six wins through his first 11 starts - the other time being 2009 when he had seven wins through 11 starts.
Historically, the Giants have been horrible in supporting Cain. I would mark that as the leading reason as to why Cain, only yesterday (June 2), reached a .500 record for the first time in his career since 2007. His 75-75 mark is probably the most misleading statistic about Cain's career with the Giants as he has accomplished so much and is the Giants' workhorse (this is where the "More than meets the eye" reference really takes hold).
The thing I admire most about Cain is that he doesn't care what his personal record is. He was quoted as saying, "I could care less what my win-loss record is as long as we're winning." That statement in and of itself prove to me exactly why the Giants gave Cain an extension until 2017 (with a club option for 2018).
Cain is heading into the prime of his career and one could argue that he is already there. I feel as if he can continue to improve and will remain a solid pitcher through the duration of his contract with the team. So long as his attitude remains unchanged and he truly doesn't mind losing wins due to a lack of run support, then he will be successful here in San Francisco.
In his career (all with the Giants), Cain has earned no-decisions when the Giants win and he has given up three-or-less earned runs on 28 occasions. Not to mention that in his career, Cain has earned losses a staggering 31 times when he allows three-or-less earned runs. Given those stats, it appears as if Matt Cain may very well just be extremely unlucky. Had he earned victories in just half of the no-decisions and losses in each scenario, he would have a career record of 104-60 (.634) instead of 75-75 (.500).
I just hope that Cain really doesn't mind the implications playing in San Francisco have had/will have on his personal win-loss record. Not to worry though, with the extension of Cain, June 2 will have been the only time we have to see Matt Cain in pinstripes in the coming years.
Food for thought: Does Matt Cain's personal win-loss record influence your feelings as to whether or not he deserved the $100-plus million extension the Giants gave him? Or is his record simply a reflection on how bad the Giants' offense has been in general and in support of Cain?
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where fresh content is posted daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp
Baseball Reference. Matt Cain Career Stats. MLB 2012.
More from David Mehrwein and the Yahoo! Contributor Network: