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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Back-end of rotation raising concern?

Sure it's just halfway through April, but each Giants' starter has had a chance to take the hill a couple of times now and thus far the main concern lies in the back-end of the rotation. Two rough starts by Jake Peavy and Matt Cain cost the Giants a chance at winning a series they really should have and those two have to be better going forward, especially Peavy.

We all kinda know what to expect from the front-three guys (Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija), however, the two that follow those three horses have been far less than spectacular their first two times out. Now, to his credit, Matt Cain looked very good in his first outing vs. the Dodgers at AT&T last week throwing 6 innings of 2-run ball and I think that was a breath of fresh air for all of us. However, his second start of the year, granted it came in Coors Field, was a rough one. He cruised through the first four innings of the game looking like the Matt Cain of 2010, but all the sudden, like he did so many times in '15, seemed to just hit a wall in the fifth inning. Although he didn't allow all 6 runs to cross the plate while he was on the mound, he went just 4 2/3 and was charged with 6 runs on 6 hits. He did strike out 7 though and had he gotten a few lucky breaks maybe he mirrors his first start and things don't get as bad, but that wasn't the case. Now Kruk and Kuip made it sound like Cain was brilliant regardless, but when you can't make it through 5 innings, it's not a good start, period. All in all though, I'm not too worried about him, yet, not the case for Jake Peavy though.

After a rough spring, Peavy has started the year off with two rough outings which has his ERA at an even 10.00 while allowing an eye-popping 21 hits in just 9 innings, and that's the really scary part. He's getting roped and his stuff has not looked very good at all. With him being in the final year of his contract, it seems like he'd be the guy to have the shorter leash between he and Cain should the Giants feel they do need to upgrade that back-end of the rotation eventually. I mean, nothing will happen anytime soon, but if Peavy's still got his ERA up over 5 or 6 come June then the Giants are going to have to start exploring some options. A couple guys that come to mind if they do decide to venture outside the organization is Philly's Jeremy Hellickson and San Diego's Andrew Cashner (along with plenty more as he season wears on), but again, trade talk in mid-April is a tad premature. Just thinking longer term over next couple months as possible options should they be needed.

Other than these last two rough outings from Peavy and Cainer the last two games, things have gone about as good as you could ask for as a Giants fan these first couple 10+ days of the '16 season. Big money signings Samardzija, Cueto and Denard Span have all looked good and primed to contribute plenty to the Giants run this year. It's been the offense, as a whole, that has really been the treat to watch thus far. We all knew this offense was deep and could get to you in a variety of ways but what's impressed me is their ability to just never be out of a game. After Cueto had that rough first vs. the Dodgers Sunday, it looked like it was gonna be a long day, however, Cueto buckled down and showed why he's a top starter in this game after that 1st inning and the offense did picked him up in a big way to give him the W. The starting eight have all been contributing but the guy who's been the biggest surprise with the bat isn't even a regular. Rookie back-up catcher, Trevor Brown, leads the team with 3 HR and is second with 7 RBI and he's had only 12 at-bats! Not that Buster Posey's job is in any kind of jeopardy of course, but Brown has certainly made Andrew Sussac expendable and a possible key trade chip should the Giants need to swing a deal this summer, like they usually do.

Romo's Elbow Hurting: Aside from Buster Posey having some minor health issues that held him out of the first two games in Colorado, the Giants have ran into their first real injury scare with reliever Sergio Romo, who was flown back to San Francisco Wednesday to have his elbow looked at and it must not have went well as the Giants placed him on the DL Thursday. We all know with Romo's whip like delivery and slider-heavy repertoire, his elbow is always a sensitive area, so hopefully it's just some a minor little flexor strain and he's good as new in a couple three weeks. If he does indeed need surgery and they lose him for an period of time then the Giants lose arguably their best reliever (closer or not). I mean Romo's their security blanket for Santiago Casilla, who occasionally needs one, and I just don't know Hunter Strickland's ready to take on that role yet. My guess is either Mike Broadway or Derek Law get the call-up, with Jake Dunning a dark horse candidate
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 7:44 PM, Anonymous J-Bill said…

    I believe in Cainer still. Have never liked Peavy. If Giants never won in 2014 they wouldn't have re-signed him.

  • At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I;m not concerned yet. As you said give it a few more weeks at least. But i think everything will work out. I bet Peavy pitches well his next time out and Cain really was nails until that 5th inning.

    This is one of my favorite Giants teams and we're just on April 14. I really just hope all of em stay healthy. Terrible news about Romo, I hope he's back in 2 weeks and it's not serious.

  • At 9:27 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Yes, I wrote the article, just because it's been a re-accruing theme the first couple weeks of the season but I put the question mark in the title for a reason. It's still far to early to make any drastic decisions or judgments, however, if things keep going down this path, where Peavy and/or Cain continue to struggle to give Boch at least 5 innings of work each start, then yes, it will become an issue.

    Not an issue now. Cain's first start was brilliant and his first four innings were great on Thursday, he just got a little gassed in the fifth and got lit up. Peavy faced a good Dodger lineup his first time out then got a tough Rockie lineup, in Coors, his second time. There are other factors two besides just two bad starts for Peavy and Cains rough start Thursday.

    Moral of the post is to point out that had Cain been on today and Peavy threw well in his two starts, your looking at a 9-1 baseball team! They didn't and they're a big reason why the team sits at 6-4.

  • At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Giants Fan in Texas said…

    it's true that we're only two weeks into season guys and its hardly time to panic. I think Peavy will be ok. He was strong in second half of last year and I think he just ran into some bad luck in his first 2 starts. I'm actuallly more worried about Cain cause he struggled last year and it seems like he just has more un-quality(?) starts than quality starts these days. Sucks too cause I love Matt Cain and hope to hell that he proves me wrong and wins 15 this year and has a 3.50 ERA again, but I think those days are over. Gosh it's hard to say that, and I hope I'm wrong.

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