Lincecum and Cain, and Prepare For Some Pain

Bret BledsoeCorrespondent IAugust 4, 2009

Almost all baseball fans are familiar with Gerald Hern's verse (or at least a paraphrase of it), honoring the best pitching the Boston Braves had to offer in 1948—

Spahn and Sain,
and pray for rain.
(The other Braves pitchers weren't half bad themselves, if you were wondering)

With apologies to Warren and John, it's time to crown a new premier pitching duo...Naturally, the creation of a new verse bearing their names is in order.

Here is one humble writer's submission:

Lincecum and Cain,
and prepare for some pain.
(This shouldn't be a surprise, seeing as how it's the title of the article)

Yes, yes, the second line probably needs some work. In fact, I'd like to encourage you, the reader, to come up with your own versions.

Here's a few to get you started:

Lincecum and Cain,

  • and get back on your plane,
  • make men take the Lord's name in vain,
  • watch the hitter's skills wane,
  • are the masters of their domain,
  • the Giants will pop champagne,
  • Tim needs to cut his mane,
  • the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain,
  • et cetera, et cetera.

Admittedly, all this poetry might be a tad frivolous, but it isn't as if the young pair of Giants starters don't deserve the praise.

Tim Lincecum, registering at 25 years of age, and Matt Cain, a scant 24, have been slicing and dicing National League hitting all year, rendering some of the Senior Circuit's most potent bats utterly useless.

Through Aug. 2, the All-Star hurlers have posted 25 wins against only five losses, tallied 303 strikeouts while only walking 95 batters, and compiled a combined 1.10 WHIP and 2.16 ERA. Opponents have only been able to muster a .217 batting average against the two pitchers.

No other combo of starters in the MLB have stats that begin to even approach these in 2009 (St. Louis' Carpenter and Wainwright are the distant second, by the way)—and the sports media has taken notice.

More and more often, the pair have been mentioned amongst the front-runners for this year's NL Cy Young Award. While this isn't a new experience for "The Freak" (Lincecum), it certainly is a change for Matt.

In his three previous years of MLB experience, Cain hasn't been bad, per se—rather, he has been the poster child for bad luck.

For example, look at his 2008 win-loss record: 8-14. Not exactly a statistic that most would associate with a "good" pitcher. However, it looks a lot better (and speaks volumes about the impotence of the Giants offense) when you see that, on 12 different outings, Cain allowed two or less earned runs over at least six innings, yet received a loss or no decision.

Many sabermetricians have been quick to denounce Cain's season as "lucky," arguing that the traditional statistics don't reflect the way he has actually pitched this year.

Sure, a lot of pitching statistics might be flawed, but they aren't worthless—and it's about time that Matt Cain has been in the same sentence as the word "lucky" (at least without the prefix 'un-').

After the win over Philadelphia last night, San Francisco found themselves tied for the National League Wild Card lead with Colorado, and a season-high 11 games over .500—chalk this up to the stellar performances this year by the Giants one-two punch of Lincecum and Cain.

At the rate that they are going, a poem that starts with "Lincecum and Cain" might very well be a baseball meme a few decades from now.

Messers. Spahn and Sain,
meet Lincecum and Cain.


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