Last night the San Francisco Giants distanced themselves from the second place Dodgers by seven games, a season high. Things are looking up for the city by the bay as their remaining games are all against division rivals under .500, with the exception of a three game series in LA (74-69) to finish off the season. The Dodgers have a much tougher schedule having to face the Cardinals, then a late east coast road trip to face MLB’s best Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds. The Giants look confident and could stroll into the postseason with an NL West title. It’s once they get there that fans can start to worry.
With a national reputation of good pitching and playing small, what was once a strength for the Giants could become their biggest fault. The starting rotation has officially become a concern.
With the exception of Matt Cain, starters Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, and more recently Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong, have shown how inconsistent they really are. Lincecum is obviously having the worst year of his young career going 9-14 with a 5.09 ERA. And while Zito is having his best year as a Giant, which really doesn’t say much, he’s only 11-8 with a 4.33 ERA. However, even with those two struggling, the Giants looked like serious contenders until Bumgarner and Vogelsong (really the Giants’ #2 and #3 guys this year) started showing signs of struggling.
Bumgarner can still turn it around, I think, because we all saw him on baseball’s biggest stage, the World Series, in 2010 when he became the first left-hander to strike out Vladimir Guerrero three times in the same game. Give him the chance in the postseason with some pressure, and he can shine. However, fans are starting to think about Vogelsong’s first six years in the big leagues, you know, when he was awful. Many were quick to shrug off last year as a fluke for Vogelsong when he started this season so strongly, leading the NL in ERA by the All-Star Break, but consider that in his last three starts he has given up at least four earned runs all to sub .500 teams. One of those teams was MLB’s worst, the Houston Astros. He’s also lost three of his last five decisions, and since August 8th his ERA has gone from a 2.27 to a 3.40.
Unless Vogelsong can get it going again, the Giants face a dilemma going into the postseason with their starting rotation, and yes, Giant’s fans should be very concerned.
About the Author
Written by Connor Callaghan
A San Francisco native, I've been following Bay Area sports for as long as my memory's served me. A graduate of the University of Oregon, I majored in English and Writing. I've shifted my focus on writing to what I really love, sports.