Through seven games, the San Francisco Giants have thrown everything they have at wall when it comes to pitching. Mind you, it hasn’t worked: The team is 26th in ERA, 22nd in FIP, and 28th in pitcher fWAR.
Which makes it all the bit more confusing that, of all the many things they’ve thrown at the wall, veteran lefty reliever Tony Watson isn’t one of them. Watson is one of the few pitchers that the Giants actually spent decent money on, and he’s one of the very few with a history of success. He was an All-Star in 2014, and then in 2018 — his first year with the Giants — he had a 2.45 FIP and 2.59 ERA in 72 appearances.
So where is he? Unless you’ve been playing very close attention to this season (and why would you do that?), you might think he hasn’t even been on the roster.
The Giants 16 pitchers have made a combined 38 appearances — Watson has one of those appearances. They’ve combined to pitch 62.0 innings — 0.2 for Watson, and 61.1 for everyone else. San Francisco pitchers have faced 289 batters — Watson has faced just 1.7% of them.
Five pitchers have thrown 3.0 or fewer innings. These are their stories:
5. Rico Garcia (3.0 IP) — Those innings have been spread out over four appearances.
4. Shaun Anderson (2.2 IP) — Those innings have been spread out over three appearances.
3. Trevor Gott (2.0 IP) — So far he’s been used exclusively as a closer, so his opportunities have been limited.
2. Dany Jimenez (1.1 IP) — He’s not even on the roster anymore.
1. Tony Watson (0.2 IP) — I’m confused.
It could be that Watson isn’t fully up to speed. He missed Spring Training with an injury, and was due to start the regularly-scheduled season in the Injury List. Perhaps Summer Camp wasn’t enough time for him to get going.
It also could be that the Giants don’t think he’s particularly good anymore. He struggled last year, especially against fellow lefties, who put up a .914 OPS against him. For reference, Mookie Betts had a .915 OPS last season, and that .914 mark would have ranked 23rd in all of baseball.
Perhaps he’ll pitch every game in the upcoming series, and I’ll go back and delete this article. But for now they appear to have a pitcher they don’t intend to use, which makes getting rid of Rule 5 selection Dany Jimenez that much more odd.