clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Do you believe in the Giants rotation?

They COULD be good, at least. Every one of them could possibly be good.

Matt Cain Pitcherface is the greatest gift of all
Matt Cain Pitcherface is the greatest gift of all
Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

And lo, so it was that on the eighth day of July, the Giants appeared to have a competent rotation. Over the last five games, there have been three excellent starts, one that wasn't especially good, and one that was going well, but ended up shortened by Act Of Cuzzi. Not too bad, really. Not too bad.

Of course, one turn through the rotation isn't very much to go on, and each Giants starter has a body of work that goes well beyond that. But how likely is it that each of them is good in the second half of the season? Let's figure it out.

Madison Bumgarner is very good, and he is headed to the All-Star Game, which he should probably start, if only to teach those uppity Royals fans a lesson. You wanna vote your entire lineup in? All right, but you're going to have to watch them while going through acid flashbacks of last year's World Series. But no one has any worries about him. Are you worried about Madison Bumgarner? Shut up, no you're not, you mongrel.

Chris Heston has been a good starting pitcher, who is on pace to have an fWAR of about 3 this year. In case you're wondering why I'm using fWAR instead of bWAR, it's because the number is higher, and that's what I want to be true. He struggles with consistency at times, but on the whole he has been a comfortably above-average starter. Good job, Chris!

Ryan Vogelsong is the fifth starter, and he is performing like a fifth starter. His bWAR this year is zero, and if you're wondering why I'm using bWAR instead of fWAR, it's because the number is higher, and that's what I want to be true.

The two wild cards, of course, are Jake Peavy and Matt Cain, both coming off injuries that essentially cost them the entire first half of the year (Peavy made two starts in April, but he clearly was having physical problems that meant he had no business pitching at the time). Assuming they're healthy, and from the eye test they both look healthy, each theoretically brings a lot to the table. Cain spent seven straight years between 3 and 5 fWAR, while Peavy, though a far cry from the Padres ace from a decade ago, has been at least a reliable starter, if injury-prone, every year since 2003.

Of course, there are other possibilities. We don't want to forget the other possibilities! Tims Lincecum and Hudson, currently on the DL, have been very bad this year. Yusmeiro Petit, currently banished to a shadowy netherworld of long relief which he can only exit through the failures of those in the physical realm, has been worse. Clayton Blackburn and Ty Blach aren't lighting it up in AAA, Kyle Crick makes Jonathan Sanchez look like Greg Maddux, and no one else is especially close to the majors. Don't look to the farm system for any help here. They already gave us a surprise Heston, and asking for more would just be greedy.

Ex-Brave Tommy Hanson is also in the organization, but since River Cats pitching coach Dwight Bernard is currently trying to rebuild his pitching arm with four pounds of pine tar and a discarded Kevin Correia glove with sunflower seed shells inside it, we can safely ignore him for the moment.

So what we have are eight players with their own strengths and weaknesses. Here, I made you a table for ease of knowing things:

Player Strengths Weaknesses
Bumgarner Everything, but especially the pitching and hitting Chevrolets?

Ground ball machine

Advanced stats like him

Has been good.

Short history of major league success






Coming off injury, could be less MATT CAIN than expected

Aw jeez why'd I say that now  I have to think about it dammit

Was okay in 2013 and bad in 2014


Solid every year

Excellent for the Giants last year

Not excellent for the Giants in the playoffs last year

Coming off a back injury, which is scary

If he's on the mound and yelling and you think he's yelling at you, that must hurt on the inside


If you doubt him, he will reach through your screen and punch you in the face, and you'll know you deserve it

Will apparently tell a great story about the Astros in 20 years

Hasn't really been good since 2012
Lincecum 2008-2011 Everything else

Very likable

Long history of success

Awful this year

Getting old

Currently injured

Bad second half of 2014

Makes me actively sad when he can't get it done, which is often


Set that consecutive batters retired record last year.

Was very good last year

Almost threw a perfect game in 2013

Has been bad this year as a reliever

Like, really bad

Check the numbers. It's shocking.

Can the Giants make a good rotation from five of those eight pieces? Maybe! Should they trade for, like, Cole Hamels? That would help!

But since you're very smart and should probably run the team, I'll ask: What starters are you comfortable with heading into the second half of the season?