After 13 years with the big league club and 16 in the Giants organization, three-time World Series champion Matt Cain will ride off into the sunset when he makes the last start of his carer on Saturday at AT&T Park. Former Giants reliever and current broadcaster Javier Lopez was teammates with Cain for seven years, and reflected on his career when he joined Murph and Mac Thursday morning. While Cain’s nickname was The Horse, Lopez threw out a different animal that he feels aptly describes the Giants great.
“I tell you what he was a bulldog, and I think that’s why you really enjoyed watching him,” Lopez said. “You knew what he was going to do. I mean he threw hard, but he was always able to change speeds really well. He’s always had that great changeup and back in 2010, 11, 12, he had that nice curveball he was throwing a lot more. You saw it the last couple of years in particular. This year he started to throw the curveball again and he was able to kind’ve command the zone.”
While Cain was never a power pitcher per say, Lopez said his ability to change speeds is what made him so effective.
“Any hitter will tell you when it comes to pitchers and velocity, it doesn’t matter how hard you throw — you can kind’ve dial up and make contact — but when you have to cover 20 MPH of difference with a big curveball or really slow changeup, that’s when hitting becomes a problem and that’s what Matt was able to do. He was able to go ahead and kind’ve speed guys up with that fastball. It was very sneaky. I played catch with him lots of times and the ball kind’ve jumps on you, it’s a heavy ball. The fact that he was able to back it up with a really slow breaking ball in the mid-70s makes it really hard on those hitters.
“Watching him at his best really was impressive because he was always attacking and had so much confidence in being able to come in and throw strikes and locate in the zone. It was fun to watch and it’s something I’m sure he wishes he could be doing all the time. I think every pitcher wishes they could do that but that’s just how baseball works, but the guy’s been an absolute bulldog and awesome to watch in those big moments and obviously June 13 is a cool day too if you’re into perfect games.”
Cain will make the final start of his career on Saturday at AT&T Park against the Padres. First pitch is at 1:05 pm and can be listened to on KNBR 680.
Listen to the full interview below. For Lopez’s comments on Cain, start from the beginning.