One night after Cliff Lee bombed in the first game of the 2010 World Series, a new postseason pitching star was born. Just as he has done all October, Matt Cain shut down the Rangers’ offense for 7 2/3 innings, helping to propel the Giants to a 2-0 series lead. With his latest scoreless effort, Cain has now thrown 21 1/3 consecutive shutout innings, the fourth highest total by any pitcher in one postseason.
|Matt Cain||0||21 1/3||2010|
Note: Minimum 15 IP
Although Cain remains a long way from Mariano Rivera’s record of 33 1/3 scoreless innings in the postseason, he is within striking distance of Christy Mathewson’s and Jonathan Papelbon’s record of 27 consecutive shutout innings to begin a postseason career. Among those pitchers who have never given up a postseason run, however, Cain has now surpassed the former record of 20 scoreless innings, which was set by Joe Niekro over two postseason starts with the Astros in 1980 and 1981 as well as a relief appearance with the Twins in the 1987 World Series.
Another interesting aspect about Cain’s masterpiece was the fact that he wasn’t allowed to complete. Although Bruce Bochy’s decision to lift him made perfect sense from a strategic standpoint (he brought in a lefty to counteract the dangerous Josh Hamilton), it stands out like a sore thumb from a historical perspective. In the 106 year history of the World Series, Matt Cain became the first pitcher to go unscored upon in his World Series debut, but not pitch a complete game shutout (with three exceptions explained below).
Even though he wasn’t given the chance to complete his masterpiece, Cain still became the first pitcher to have a spotless World Series debut since Boston’s Jim Lonborg shutout the Cardinals in game two of the 1967 World Series. It would have been nice to see Cain go the distance, but his effort isn’t really diminished much by failing to do so. After all, it’s been several years since the advent of pitch counts and relief specialists, and during that span, no first timer has ever been scoreless in the World Series.
Leaving Early: Pitchers Who Departed Scoreless Outings in WS Debut
|Player||Date||Game||Tm||IP||H||Reason for Departure|
|Juan Marichal||10/8/62||WS#4||SFG||4||2||Injured bunting in 5th.|
|Oral Hildebrand||10/8/39||WS#4||NYY||4||2||Pain in his side.|
|Curly Ogden||10/10/24||WS#7||WSH||1/3||0||Part of a strategic plan.*|
|Matt Cain||10/28/10||WS#2||SFG||7 2/3||4||Removed for RP.|
*For more information on Ogden’s brief start, click here.
Source: Baseball-reference.com and various newspaper archives