The Giants have yet to publicly state who will fulfil the fifth spot in their starting rotation. Matt Cain seems confident it’ll be him, following his last spring opportunity to show his stuff in Tuesday’s 10-7 win over the Cubs at Sloan Park.
“I’ll be ready for the fifth day,” said Cain, per Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area. “I’ll be ready until they tell me otherwise.”
Cain stuck out five, walked one and gave up five hits in five and 1/3 innings. And he threw 99 pitches, which may indicate that he will, in fact, get the start against the Padres on April 7. Ninety-nine is a fairly high pitch count for someone preparing to enter the season as a long reliever.
“Today was an improvement,” manager Bruce Bochy said, per CSN Bay Area. “He did a good job out there and went through a tough lineup. He used his changeup very well today.”
Through five innings he looked solid, easily his best outing this spring. And it was against a tough lineup, one that had the potential of pummeling his last shot to prove his readiness or, conversely, aid a demonstration that he is ready to go to work.
“I know I’m ready to be able to throw the ball the way I need to and I know that I finished spring being good with all my pitches and my mechanics,” said Cain, per Chris Haft of MLB.com.
Cain concludes spring with a 7.82 ERA and Ty Blach, the other viable option for the fifth spot, finished with a 4.43 ERA—including allowing just two runs in six innings in his last start. But Blach is the better fit in the bullpen, and with Will Smith’s season already over, it’s likely he’ll slide into that role.
“I’ve been going out every fifth day,” said Cain, per MLB.com. “That’s the mindset I’m going to keep going with, and we’ll see what happens.”
The Giants aren’t alone with this degree of uncertainty. Nearly every team stresses about their fifth starter. There’s a large probability that whoever does get that April 7 start won’t go every five games for the season’s duration. For Cain, if he can get through the oppositions lineup twice, he should put himself, and his team, in good shape.
“We’ll get together to discuss what to do here with the whole staff,” Bochy said, per CSN Bay Area. “But it’s good to see Matt get better as the spring went on.”