San Francisco Giants right-hander Matt Cain began his season in July, a reality he's trying to acclimate to after growing so accustomed to pitching full seasons.
Cain has been teetering from highs to lows in the four starts he's made this season, currently positioned at a high after picking up his second win of the season in a 7-1 defeat of the San Diego Padres in which he threw six innings, gave up five hits and an earned run, and struck out six.
The 30-year-old veteran pitcher's outings so far this season, while a limited sample size, have followed an uncannily predictable path.
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After losing his 2015 debut on July 2, in which Cain allowed five earned runs and seven hits in five innings, he won his second start on July 7 with a scoreless six-inning dominant outing against the New York Mets.
In those two starts, Cain gave up five earned runs, two home runs, and threw 184 pitches.
In his third start of the season on July 17, Cain took a step back, giving up eight hits and four earned runs over five innings, picking up a no-decision.
His following start was his most recent.
Add those two starts up … again, five earned runs, two home runs, and 184 pitches.
Cain hopes he's snapped out of that trend after Wednesday's start. He says he's beginning to focus more on the mental side of pitching.
"I think that's coming back," Cain said. "You're jumping in and out of cities with the rehab part of it. I think that's key for me, to get back on the routine I've always done."
He'll have plenty of time to mentally prepare himself for his second start, as he's next slated to face the Milwaukee Brewers at AT&T Park on Tuesday, July 28.
(h/t San Jose Mercury News)