Matt Cain was once the ace of the San Francisco Giants during their run to the 2012 World Series before several injuries sidetracked his career over the past three seasons.
As he tries to work his way back to being an effective starter, the right-hander hopes to put together a performance worth building on during the offseason Sunday against the Colorado Rockies.
Cain (2-4, 6.31 ERA) hadn’t spent any time on the disabled list over his first eight seasons, and shined in 2012 when he went 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA for the World Series champs. He hasn’t reached double-digit victories since, however, going on the DL six times in the past three years.
The 31-year-old has missed 3 1/2 months this season because of a right forearm flexor strain and right elbow nerve irritation. After going 2-4 with a 6.15 ERA in 10 starts, he was moved to the bullpen in late August when the Giants attempted to chase down a playoff berth.
With the club eliminated from the postseason race, Cain will get another opportunity as a starter after he allowed three runs over three innings in relief appearances earlier this month.
"He needed competition," manager Bruce Bochy told MLB’s official website. "We’ll see how far he goes. He’s not stretched out. It’ll be short work."
Cain has been solid at home against the Rockies, going 11-5 with a 2.50 ERA in 19 career starts.
Carlos Gonzalez is batting just .089 with 17 strikeouts in 45 at-bats off him, while Nolan Arenado is 3 for 16 with a home run. Arenado, though, is hitting .333 with 10 homers in the season series.
With 42 home runs, Arenado is tied with Washington’s Bryce Harper for the NL title and they’re both two ahead of Gonzalez. Arenado would become the club’s first home run champion since Dante Bichette, Andres Galarraga and Larry Walker went back-to-back-to-back from 1995-97.
Ben Paulsen delivered his 11th home run in Saturday’s 3-2 loss that evened this series at AT&T Park. The NL West-worst Rockies finished with seven hits and went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
Colorado (67-94) will try to get back on track for Christian Bergman (3-1, 4.68) while looking to avoid closing this season-ending trip 1-5. The right-hander makes his third start since joining the rotation Sept. 23, going 0-1 with a 10.38 ERA in his previous two outings.
Bergman, 1-0 with a 2.82 ERA in three starts against the Giants (84-77), allowed no runs and four hits but lasted just four innings in a 4-1 road win April 14. However, he yielded five runs and nine hits over six innings in three relief appearances versus San Francisco this season.
Matt Duffy is 3 for 4 with a home run off him, while Gregor Blanco is 5 for 10. Angel Pagan has gone 4 for 8 and Buster Posey is 4 for 8 with a homer in the matchup.
Crawford, who is 1 for 11 versus Bergman, hit his 21st home run Saturday. Marlon Byrd added his 23rd and rookie Kelby Tomlinson hit an inside-the-park homer.
Tomlinson has provided a spark of late, batting .378 over his last 10 games.