Sunday, March 24, 2013

San Francisco Giants Starting Pitching Preview

By Kalen Patrick

The biggest strength of the Giants through the 2 recent World Series Championships has been the pitching, will this trend continue as the Giants look to defend the title this season? Ultimately I think the Giants will get another very strong season from the pitching staff.


Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner are pitchers #1 and 2 at the top of the rotation. Matt Cain is the ace of the staff and Mr. Consistent (consistently very good), while Bumgarner provides similar stability for the Giants. Bumgarner did have some control issues leading up to the playoffs last season, but judging by his amazing performance against the Tigers in the World Series, these were fixable problems for him. He is a confident, heavy throwing pitcher, who is developing and refining his pitches. He will have another very good season. The 3rd pitcher of the rotation in my opinion is Ryan Vogelsong. Wow what a story he has been. The Giants will look for another strong year from Vogelsong, and I see no reason as to why this wouldn't happen.

The 2 big question marks on the remaining projected starters are Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito. Zito overall had a pretty solid 2012 regular season, some surprisingly good starts, the expected rough patches that left your face in your palm and then the average Zito type games (5-6 innings with 2-5 runs allowed). Something happened to Zito in last years playoffs and he had the biggest game of his career against the Cardinals winning in St. Louis. While Zito will never really earn the money he has made, I expect another solid outing this season. Probably finish 13-13 with an ERA around 4 or maybe a little higher. As good as he was in the playoffs and World Series, this is Barry Zito after all and over the course of a season he will have quite a few terrible outings I'm sure.

Tim Lincecum, well he may just be the biggest question mark in the Majors. 2 time Cy Young winner, who last year had the worst ERA for a starting pitcher (who met the innings pitched to qualify). The 2 biggest issues with Timmy were his fastball and his confidence. His fastball has lost 4-5 MPH since his Cy Young years (95/96 to 91/92). Timmy was able to use his higher velocity fastball to set up hitters with his deadly off-speed pitches. With his decreasing velocity, this clearly effected Lincecum's confidence as he battled control issues all year and he couldn't strike people out nearly as efficiently as before. Not only this, but he was very hittable which led to his inflated ERA. While I do expect a bounce back year from Timmy, he will not regain Cy Young form, maybe become a 3.4-3.8 ERA type pitcher, middle of the pack. I am making a prediction right now that this will be Timmy's LAST SEASON as a Giant, you heard it here first!

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