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Giants’ Cain Isn’t Able on the Road

Updated: .July 31, 2017

By Charles Jay

You’ve got to wonder how long Matt Cain is going to be allowed to fail before he gets kicked out of the San Francisco Giants‘ rotation, or perhaps completely off the roster. He is not serving this team well with his road appearances, so the best he can hope for is to resurrect what appears to be some ancient history as he takes the mound on Monday night against the Oakland Athletics, in a game that begins at 10:05 PM ET at the Oakland Coliseum.

Remember that if you are an America’s Bookie customer, you can place wagers on this game even after it starts, using two different “Live Betting” options in your sportsbook interface.

Cain, who was once one of the better right-handed starters in the National League, is getting to the point where he really has no usefulness left. It is true that he has pitched well, in general, at home, but on the road he has been an unmitigated disaster, with an 0-6 record and 8.14 ERA. With the return of Madison Bumgarner into the rotation, there has been speculation that he will be moved to the bullpen. He was scratched as last night’s starter against the Los Angeles Dodgers, in favor of MadBum, who responded with seven scoreless innings in what became another hard-breaking loss for Bruce Bochy and his team.

The Oakland a situation is interesting, in that Sonny Gray was originally scheduled to be the starter, but his status is up in the air, which you already know unless you haven’t been reading anything in the newspapers or on the Internet. Gray may be wearing another team’s uniform by the time the game begins, so for all intents and purposes, Paul Blackburn, a rookie, is recognized to be the starting pitcher for the A’s.

In the baseball betting odds posted on this game, the Athletics are favored at home:

Oakland Athletics (Blackburn) -150
San Francisco Giants (Cain) +130

Giants +1.5 Runs (-160)
A’s -1.5 Runs (+140)

Over 9.5 Runs -115
Under 9.5 Runs -105

Cain actually has a very good history against Oakland, with a 2.34 earned run average in a dozen lifetime appearances. But he’s made only one of those appearances since 2012, and it was subsequent to that season that his career really began going downhill. That road record is atrocious, and opponents have a .961 OPS against him, which means he is like a sitting duck out there on the mound. Bochy obviously didn’t want him to be a sacrificial lamb against the Dodgers, who went into Sunday night’s game with a 46-13 home record. Cain has reached a Game Score of 50 in only one of his last eight starts, which means that he has been below average every other time.

Blackburn has never been a strikeout pitcher, even in the minors, and his rate so far in five big-league starts is just 3.4 K’s per nine innings. Yet he figures out a way to the opposition off base, with a WHIP ratio of 1.06, and he is very good at stopping the long ball. It is minor-league career, his home run rate was just 0.5, and that can be greatly attributed to his sinker ball. He will hit 92 on the radar gun with his fastball, which is enough to keep most hitters off-balance, and he has gotten results thus far; he was steady in his major league debut, holding the Atlanta Braves just three hits over six innings, in his last outing, he stifled the Toronto Blue Jays, going seven innings without allowing an earned run and giving up only to base hits.

No, Oakland does not have any momentum to speak of, but they do have a 29-24 home record, and the Giants have to be licking their wounds over last night’s game, in which Bumgarner gave them seven scoreless innings, but they lost a 2-1 lead to the Dodgers in the 11th inning. That brings their road record to 18-37, and when you consider all this, in addition to Cain on the mound, we simply can’t back the Giants, not at a reasonable price anyway. So we’re going with the home team, as the Charles Jay/America’s Bookie Challenge continues on Monday night.

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