Matt Cain has made 236 career starts and compiled a 3.26 ERA over that span. Cain’s 3.29 ERA since 2006, amassed over the course of seven seasons in which he annually made at least 31 starts, ranks in the top 10 league-wide among starters that pitched in each of those years.
Yet, despite all of his success on the mound, the Giants’ ace entered 2013 with a career record of 85-78, which stayed unchanged on Opening Day, when his team’s offense failed to score a run against Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw. Cain did not even cross the .500 mark for his career until last season, and his poor record stands in stark contrast to those of his comparable contemporaries, such as Angels ace Jered Weaver, who has made 208 starts and logged a 3.23 ERA since his 2006 debut. Weaver’s own no-decision on Monday kept his career mark at 102-52; he picked up his 100th win last September 18, in his 204th career start.
The Giants offense, though still far from elite, has come a long way from the days when Benjie Molina hit cleanup, and when Cain was saddled with a 7-16 record in 2007 despite a 3.65 ERA. If Cain can maintain his improvements from last season, and if the Giants’ top bats stay healthy, he should finally approach the century mark by the end of the season. And when he does, it will be a well-deserved milestone that’s at least a year overdue.