Ryan Vogelsong offered Matt Cain an interesting observation. Giants pitchers have so much respect for Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner, they might be reticent to critique one another for fear of stepping on their coaches' toes.
The five starters have been together so long, perhaps they should talk to each other, especially now, when everything is so askew.
"We see each other enough," Cain said after Thursday's 7-2 loss to the Brewers. "We've been around each other enough to see the good and the bad, and we have great relationships with each other. They're never going to offend me if somebody comes up and says, 'Something looks like this or something looks like that.' "
For a rotation so central to the Giants' hopes and success, the first 16 games have provided a bit too much "that" and not enough "this."
By the time Cain walked off the mound after six innings at Miller Field, having allowed three two-run homers and seven runs overall, the rotation's ERA had risen to 5.07. Remove Madison Bumgarner, the one starter who has been good consistently, and it soars to 5.99.
Bumgarner's next turn comes at a good time, at home Friday night against the Padres, after the Giants were swept in a three-game series to complete a 3-4 trip that might have been much worse had the offense not gone to town on a weak Cubs pitching staff.
A Milwaukee team that went 32 consecutive innings without scoring last week pounded Giants pitching for 21 runs in three games, its cudgel of choice being the home run.
In fact, the Giants were outhomered 15-3 on the trip. Cain watched three balls leave Miller Park on Thursday, each with one aboard. Actually, to be accurate, Cain did not bother to turn and see how far Ryan Braun slammed his hanging slider in the first inning.