To say the San Francisco Giants have been a stunning story in the world of Major League Baseball betting is no understatement. Last year, San Fran finished 4th in the NL West with a record of 72-90; at best, expectations for this season were a .500 record and maybe staying competitive until August.
Well, the Giants have blown those out of the water.
At the time of writing, San Francisco found itself at 37-31, eight games back of Los Angeles in the NL West and firmly entrenched in the National League wild card race. And no two players have been more important to the Giants’ success than a pair of young hurlers: 24-year-old Matt Cain and 25-year-old Tim Lincecum.
Lincecum is the star of the Giants’ staff – it’ll likely stay that way for a while, too. Last year – his second in the Majors – he captured the Cy Young Award, becoming the first second-year player to win it since Dwight Gooden and Bret Saberhagen did it in 1985.
Unsurprisingly, Lincecum’s 2009 numbers are impressive – 6-2, 2.72 ERA, 112 strikeouts – but it’s the one-two punch he forms with Cain that makes the Giants so tough.
Cain has been nothing short of outstanding this season. And after last year’s frustrating 8-14 season, it’s been a pleasant surprise. Cain is 9-1 with a 2.28 ERA and an early candidate for a Cy Young of his own, something baseball bettors wouldn’t have expected coming into this season.
The big righty (6’3, 246lbs) broke into the bigs at the tender age of 20, but rarely showed the stuff he’s put on display in 2009. Cain had a 30-43 record through his first four MLB seasons. While he was often the victim of poor run support, his inconsistency played a big part in keeping him from compiling a winning record.
Now, though, things are looking great for Cain and Lincecum. They’re 15-3 combined and drawing comparisons to some of the greatest 1-2 combos that have dominated Major League Baseball: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in Arizona, Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens in New York and, most recently, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka in Boston.
Can the Giants and their deadly young duo keep it up? Only time will tell. But one thing’s for certain – the future looks remarkably bright for San Francisco’s pitching staff.