05/19/2009 9:30 AM ET
Matt Cain: Giants staff pitching in
Righty has helped San Francisco reach second place
We had a rough start, but there wasn't anything we could do about it other than to start playing well and win some games. Luckily, that's how we've responded, and now we want to keep pushing forward.
I think guys have just started to relax, and we've begun to pitch the way we need to now. I'm happy to be contributing to that success.
Randy Johnson has been a great acquisition for us. I've spent a lot of time asking him questions and picking his brain. That started back in Spring Training. It's been good having him on our staff so far, and we've loved having him around.
Our other lefty, Barry Zito, has been huge for us, too. Everyone knows his track record and what he's capable of doing, so it isn't really a surprise. He's thrown the ball really well lately, and he has his confidence going again.
I've been particularly impressed with the way Barry has challenged hitters. That aggressiveness is something our whole staff can watch and learn from. It's about going after guys.
We've also swung the bats well, and we've played good team defense, too. We were doing a lot of those things toward the end of spring and it carried over into the regular season. We're now hoping to keep this momentum going for the next four, five months.
Playing well at home has helped us, too. We want to continue to establish ourselves as a club that's really tough at home. It's a place we should be comfortable hitting and pitching in, because we know the park's quirks. As pitchers, we need to take advantage of how big the park is. We know how the ballpark can help us out.
Personally, I've focused on developing a rhythm with our catcher, Bengie Molina. Of course, I'm constantly trying to cut down on my walks, too, but sometimes that comes and goes. It's a bit like strikeouts. You have times when you walk guys and sometimes you have those stretches when you strike out a lot of guys.
Matt Cain, who leads the Giants with a 4-1 record and 2.65 ERA, allowed just three hits in six innings in his win against the Mets on Sunday night. Along with reigning Players Choice Outstanding NL Pitcher Tim Lincecum, Randy Johnson and Barry Zito, San Francisco has one of the most formidable starting rotations in baseball.