Matt Cain failed to make it out of the first inning Wednesday, allowing five of the seven batters he faced to reach base before being yanked after throwing 36 pitches. It was Cain’s second straight awful start, following up last week’s outing in which he allowed eight runs in 2.1 innings.
Despite those struggles manager Bruce Bochy insisted yesterday that Cain is healthy, telling Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that “he’s fine” and the elbow fragments that have bothered him in the past “hasn’t affected him as far as I know.”
Baggarly, however, notes some red flags that suggest something isn’t right with Cain. For one thing Bochy had a reliever warming up just 20 pitches into Cain’s start Wednesday, suggesting the Giants knew something was up. Beyond that Cain’s fastball velocity was down 2-3 miles per hour.
Cain will get extra time off thanks to the All-Star break, but it’ll be telling when the Giants schedule his first start of the second half. Injured or healthy, Cain has allowed the most earned runs in the NL and has a 5.06 ERA after posting an ERA under 3.25 in four straight seasons.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.