Matt Cain's career reached its apex on June 13, 2012, as the Giants righty tossed a perfect game at home against the Houston Astros. Perfection is far from Cain's mind one year later, as he takes the mound tonight with a five-plus ERA (5.09) and the third-highest home run total allowed (13) among NL starting pitchers. A major reason for the perennial Cy Young Award contender's struggles is that he's getting crushed when he tries to go inside on right-handed hitters.
When Cain threw inside to righty batters in 2012, they hit just four home runs and slugged .369. For comparison's sake, right-handed hitters slug .428 overall when a same-handed starter tries to bust them inside. The only right-handed starters in the NL who were more effective pitching inside to righty hitters were Lance Lynn (.264 opponent slugging percentage), Johnny Cueto (.313), Jake Westbrook (.316), Ryan Vogelsong (.358) and Yovani Gallardo (.362).
Cain's opponent slugging percentage by pitch location vs. righties, 2012
This year, though? Cain has already served up five homers on inside pitches to righties, and they're slugging .733. Chris Tillman (.821 opponent slugging percentage) and Marco Estrada (.792) are the only righties to get clobbered more than Cain when going inside against same-handed batters.
Cain's opponent slugging percentage by pitch location vs. righties, 2013