After slicing open his finger trying to make a sandwich before his scheduled start on April 29th, Matt Cain has spent the past two weeks on the disabled list for the San Francisco Giants but appears ready to return to the mound. The right-hander will reportedly be activated on Saturday and will start against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Cain’s absence from the Giants’ rotation has been a brief one. He’s missed just two starts while on the sidelines, but the Giants have been able to win each outing with swingman Yusmeiro Petit taking the mound in his place. Petit was thrust into a spot start on the 29th after Cain cut his finger, throwing six shutout innings against the San Diego Padres while allowing just three hits and striking out four. The performance was strong enough to earn him a second start, but he was hit hard by the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing eight runs on nine hits while failing to make it through five. The Giants clawed their way back in the game, eventually winning it in extra innings.
Cain has had a dismal start to the 2014 season. He made five starts before landing on DL, throwing 31.0 IP in which he posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.323 WHIP. Overall the numbers haven’t been poor, but it marked the first time in Cain’s career that he’d go winless through the season’s first month (he’s 0-3). He’s historically pitched at his worst during the month of April, with a career worst 3.77 ERA and just 7.0 K/9 in 44 starts.
San Francisco has continued to perform well on the year, holding a one game lead in the NL West entering play Friday thanks largely to strong starts by Tim Hudson, Madison Bumgarner, and Ryan Vogelsong and a dominating bullpen lead by Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, and Jean Machi. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Mike Morse, and Angel Pagan have carried their offense despite subpar starts to the year from Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval.