How was your week

Posted: March 24, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Now I was one of the people who thought that the San Francisco Giants would bounce back from a horrendous 2017 season. Now to be fair they still might bounce back, but it’s going to be difficult to get off to a good start with 2 out of the 5 pitchers projected to be in your rotation at the start of the season on the disabled list. Not only is it two starters for the Giants, but it’s their #1 starter and their #3 starter.

Jeff Samardzija had to come out of his last spring training start with an injury. That injury turned out to be a pectoral strain and will have to miss 3 to 4 weeks. An MRI done yesterday revealed Samardzija’s injury.

I’m not sure how many people look at Samardzija as a top starting pitcher, but he was the National League leader in innings pitched last season with 207 2/3rd. Samardzija made 32 starts last season and was 9-15 with an ERA of 4.42 while striking out 205 batters. Samardzija has made 30 plus starts in each of the last five seasons, but it looks as though that streak may come to and end as he’ll start the 2018 season on the disabled list.

Then yesterday the Giants starting rotation took another hit as Madison Bumgarner was hit by a line drive. Originally it was thought that Bumgarner had broken his hand, but it was later reported that he has a displaced fracture in his fifth metacarpal. In other words he has a broken pinky. Bumgarner will have surgery on the finger today. They’ll place pins into his pinky that will stay in for four to six weeks. Once the pins come out Bumgarner will have to build himself up into a starters role.

San Francisco is hopefully that Bumgarner will be back on the mound before the All-Star break. In 2013 former Giants right hander Ryan Volgelsong had a similar injury and missed 11 weeks.

Bumgarner was looking to comeback from a 2017 season where he was limited to just 17 starts because of injury. Bumgarner’s injury was actually self inflicted as he was injured while driving an ATV at his home. Bumgarner still did end up pitching 111 innings last season and posted a 3.32 ERA, but had a 4-9 record.

It appeared as though Bumgarner was going to have a big 2018 season. In 19 spring training innings Bumgarner had an ERA of 2.84 while striking out 27 hitters while walking just 3.

So how will the Giants filled these two big holes in their rotation to start the season? Johnny Cueto will be expected to lead the rotation, but he had his issues last season. Injuries limited Cueto to 25 starts last season and he hasn’t had the best spring training. In 9 1/3rd spring training innings Cueto has an ERA of 5.79. Now that is a small sample size and Cueto doesn’t have a quality pitching resume behind him; so he’ll be the Giants #1 starter coming into 2018.

So Cueto is at the top of the San Francisco rotation, but who next? The Giants where counting on Chris Stratton and Ty Blach to handle the back of their rotation. Stratton has 20 career starts while Blach has made 26 career starts with 24 of those coming last season. Stratton and Blach are both 27 years old and with Bumgarner and Samardzija in the starting rotation carrying two young starters wouldn’t be a big deal. Now with those two starting the season on the disabled list Stratton and Blach are going to be expected to fill a bigger role than originally planned.

So Cueto, Stratton and Blach will fill three of the five rotation spots for the Giants, but what about the other two spots?

Derek Holland was signed to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training this past off season and it’s looking like he’ll be filling one of those open rotation spots. Holland made 26 starts and pitched in 29 games for the Chicago White Sox last season. Holland pitched 135 innings going 7-14, but had a ERA of 6.20. This spring Holland has thrown  15 innings and his ERA is 4.20. Holland has spent his entire 9 years career pitching in the American League; so it’s not a surprise that his career ERA is 4.57. He’s a solid veteran starter who should be able to hold down a spot in the rotation until Bumgarner and Samardzija return.

That looks like it wraps up four of the five spots in the Giants starting rotation, but who’s the 5th starter?

The Giants top pitching prospect is Tyler Beede who was their 1st round pick #14 in the 2014 draft. Beede turns 25 in May and made 19 starts in Triple-A last season. While he has only thrown 8 1/3rd innings this spring his ERA is at 10.80. Will Beede be the Giants 5th starter come opening day?

The Giants did sign Chris Heston to a minor league deal the off season. Heston’s name should sound familiar to Giants fans as he made 31 starts for them in 2015 going 12-11 with an ERA of 3.95. Heston also threw a no-hitter against the New York Mets that season. Heston pitch in just 4 games for the Giants in 2016 before being traded to the Seattle Mariners in December of 2016. Heston pitched in just two games for the Mariners before being waived. He also made one appearance for the Minnesota Twins last season.

Those look like the top two choices that are currently on the Giants roster. Is it possible that the Giants might try to bring in a veteran pitcher? While all of the top free agent pitcher have been signed there still are some recognizable names out there. Could the Giants turn to a veteran like John Lackey or Scott Feldman? Jeff Locke is just 30 years old and is still unsigned, could he fill that spot? Will have to see if this is an avenue the Giants explore.

Oddly for me I had just put in my 2018 season predictions, but I haven’t posted them yet. I had the Giants taking one of the two National League wild card spots. While not wanting to give too much away I also had a couple of their players winning some awards. I’m not sure if I should or can change this now. Would it be considered cheating if I make changes?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on BlogTalkRadio.com, but don’t forget that you can listen to the podcast any time you want at TuneIn.com.

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

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