Sorry for dropping the ball on the rotational turns since the ASB, but as we all know, it hasn't been pretty. Plus, as anyone can see, the next turn has happened, but I think that the contrast would be good to bring out, so I'll do the 27th first then 28th.
27th Rotation Turn
Since the last one, just before the ASB (and skipping over Bumgarner's great last start of the first half), the Giants rotation has struggled to produce DOM starts. After 8 rotational turns of 3 or 4 DOM starts out of 5, which is great for any pitcher, let alone the rotation, with only 2 of the last 7 rotational turns being 3 or 4, the rest were 2 DOM (or 40% which is good but not great). That's been a major reason why the team has struggled to put up good win streaks in the second half. Their record over that time period reflects that relatively poor performance, especially since the team is built to win by pitching mostly: 17-18.
Bumgarner has taken the ace role and made it his own now. 6 DOM starts out of 7 (unfortunately, also a DIS start too), plus that DOM start to end the first half that wasn't captured in any of these posts. The Giants were only 5-3 with him pitching so well, as the offense has continued to sputter while Pagan (and Belt) was out. Since Pagan has returned, and after a few games of adjustment, the team has averaged 5.3 runs per game in the last 15 games, with the team going 10-5 during that streak (which includes the 28th rotation turn, as I digress).
Cain, as we know, never made it out of the chute after the ASB, going on the DL and eventually under the knife (though I don't recall any notice about the surgery, has it been done yet? Oh, I missed it while at a conference and reading, instead, about Robin Williams death; sounds like it was a great success, a "jarful" of large chips plus bone spurs taken out since the Dr. was in there. Given all this, wow, how did he pitch so well over such a long time with all these things floating in there, and how well will he pitch going forward with no impediments in his elbow to force him to adjust to them? He could be even better, perhaps).
Hudson has been struggling since his last start of the first half, at least relative to how great he was doing before. 8 starts, 2 DOM, 2 DIS, that's pretty bad, like Hennessey bad. However, the Giants were able to win with him struggling to be dominant because he's good at limiting the damage despite his problems, so the Giants were 4-4 during that stretch.
Lincecum, as I noted in many many comments at other sites, has not been the same since his emergency relief spot saving that long extra-inning game. He has been totally out of whack since then. He had a string of 5 straight DOM starts, 7 of 8 (including his no-hitter), and 10 of 13 when he was asked to relieve, and since then he has had 5 DIS starts and 1 DOM out of 6 starts. Clearly, something happened in taking on his relief duties that night, and the team has been 2-4 over that 6 starts (after going 5-3 when he was going tood). Might have been better to let Colvin pitch and see how that went before going to Lincecum, winning that one game (and we had a 4 run lead to start the inning), as that probably cost us at least 2 wins during that poor stretch of pitching that cost him his starting job for at least one start so far and it has been announced he will miss a second (though, from my research, Petit has pitched really well in Colorado the two years he has been with the Giants, while Lincecum has not in his career, so it just makes sense to skip Lincecum).
Vogelsong has been one of the steadying forces in the rotation during this rough patch. He did start out with a DIS start and had that rain-related short outing, which I don't include in the analysis because it's not his fault that he couldn't reach the necessary 5 innings to avoid a DIS start, but he's been great, 3 DOM starts and only 1 DIS start out of 6 starts. The Giants are 3-3 in those games (plus a loss in the rain delayed game that got finished the next day after a Giants protest was upheld due to the Chicago Cubs groundscrew's incompetence in rolling up tarp; long story...).
Lastly, Peavy was acquired to take over Cain's spot in the rotation (except for the start that Petit took over with a MID start that the Giants won). He has been great, throwing 5 DOM starts in 6 starts during this stretch, with only 1 DIS start, helping to support the team while the rotation was sputtering. Unfortunately, the offense was sputtering too, and the Giants only went 2-4 during his starts, despite his sterling 2.66 ERA with the Giants, as he appears to be reverting back to his prior goodness, rather than continuing his poor 2014 season with and in Boston, it appears that returning to the NL West was just the elixir his 33 YO body needed (or just leaving the AL East, while he had a nice home ERA in Boston, he just got beat like a drum away).
28th Rotation Turn
DOMINANCE. Peavy started it with his last start for the 27th turn, which we lost, but it seems to have set the fuse going:
- Bumgarner: perfect game into 8th inning, one-hitter, no walks, 13 strikeouts, only 102 pitch complete game, with 80 strikes thrown, only 1 3 ball count in the game, and if I recall right 15 0-2 counts. LHP with 13 strikeouts and 0 walks and 0-1 hits in MLB history: Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson, Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner. Giants win 3-0.
- Hudson: 8 IP, 4 hits, one walk, 8 strikeouts. Had no-hitter for 4 IP. First 5 PQS start in 9 starts. First time reach 8 IP in 10 starts. First time to 7 K's since first start of the season. Reached 2,000 strikeouts in his career. Giants win 4-2, with Bochy winning his 1,600th game as a manager
- Petit: 6 IP, 4 hits, one walk, 9 strikeouts. Had perfect no-hitter retiring first eight batters, which would normally not be too big a deal, but he set a new record for consecutive batters retired at 46 straight, reclaiming the record for the Giants, whose Jim Barr had owned the record for 37 years, from 1972 (I remember him doing it) to 2009, bringing it home. Giants win 4-1.
- Vogelsong: 7 IP, 4 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts. He has allowed 3 runs or less in 11 of his last 12 starts.
- Peavy: 7.2 IP, 1 hit, 3 waks, 8 strikeouts. No-hitter one out into 8th inning, longest stint of no-hit in his career. He also had one into the 7th inning in his second start with the Giants, looks like pitching for SF, in SF, for Bochy and with Righertti seems to be good for him and reducing hits in some games. Giants win 3-1, Peavy did not give up a run.
Also, his great start and record setting earned Petit another start for the Giants, getting to go against the Rockies in Colorado instead of Lincecum, who is still working on his mechanics, though Bochy said that they like what they are seeing right now and hope to see it in action soon, in relief. It makes sense to go with Petit over Lincecum for another reason: Petit has been great against the Rockies in Colorado as a Giant, while Lincecum has usually struggled, 5+ ERA. I've been hoping for a 6-man rotation, to keep the pitcher's arms fresher, but I can see a situation where one starter gets a rest (like Lincecum), then he comes back in and gives, say, Hudson a rest, then he comes in and gives Vogelsong a rest, helping to keep the older guys fresher and giving them a nice rest.
On that note, Peavy is actually not that old, 33 YO, and I've been hoping that he resigns with the Giants, even though that would mean ending Vogelsong's time here (unless the Giants go radical and make Lincecum the closer, opening up a spot for Vogie). Peavy certainly would want to return. He is great buds with Bochy, as Bochy was his first manager in the majors. He has pitched well with the team. He's intensely fierce, reminds me of Vogelsong, only he has more talent to back it up. And thus why go anywhere else, the Giants are set to compete for many more years. But after his good pitching for us, I'm not sure we could afford him on the open market, he would need to be signed before the free agency period begins, maybe two years, $26M. But that would take away money from signing up Sandoval unless the owners decide to stretch the budget again next season to include both of them. Hopefully they can fit him in, he could help keep us competitive for a few more years beyond what Vogie could do for us.
Back to Petit, someone at Raising Cain speculated astutely that perhaps Lincecum might get to start/relieve the continuation of the suspended Rockies game that the Giants would play before their next Rockies series on Monday, and that makes great sense except for the fact that his poor performances there would suggest he would fail there.
Still, while I was initially skeptical, I now think that is probably what the Giants had in mind, barring the need to throw Lincecum into long relief in the Brewers series, they would like to have him "start" that game. It is perfect: if he does well, great; if not, they could easily remove him from the game with no or little shame, unlike getting pulled from a game that he started. And then Kontos or Machi would take over and pitch a couple of innings. That's classic Bochy: don't want to promise something to the press, in case he needs Lincecum in the Brewers series as long relief, but then announce it after the Brewers series end.
Actually, just remembered that it's the first day of September, so with expanded rosters, the Giants could just throw in Kickham (assuming he gets the promotion to the majors). Plus, I have to think Strickland will get the call as well, he's on the 40-man, they kept him on it in spite of his TJS last season, they actually mentioned him as a future closer for us, and he's been doing great down in Richmond after returning from rehab, striking out a storm, and with 3 guys who we can put on the 60-day DL right now, we could do the same thing California did in 2002 in order to have K-Rod pitching for them in the playoffs, he could take Gutierrez's spot, if we should make it into the playoffs.
But first things first, the Giants are still 2.5 games out, though they now are leading in the wild card race and at least in the one-game playoff if the season ended now. Still, that's truly a crapshoot, trying to win a one game series, so the Giants need to keep the pedal to the metal and keep on winning. They have averaged scoring 5.3 runs per game over their past dozen plus games now, as well as starting to perform well in the starting rotation, so everything is starting to click like it did in 2010 when the Giants ran off a streak of 20-something games of keeping the opposition at or under 3 runs. Hopefully they can do it because we will need such a run to take the division title, that should be the goal.