Saturday, April 22, 2017

Your 2017 Giants: Bumgarner Got a Bum Ride

As all Giants fans already know by now, Madison Bumgarner injured himself severely on a dirt bike, and was placed on the 10-day DL.  He is expected to be out for up to two months.

Ty Blach now moves into his rotation spot, for now, and Chris Stratton was called up to take his place in the bullpen as long relief.  No word if Stratton will get short relief tries as well, like Bochy noted that Blach would get opportunities doing short as well.

Speaking of Bochy, he missed the KC series in order to have a heart procedure done.  Something about a misfiring muscle that caused an irregular heartbeat.  He says it was no big deal, he was fixed up.

ogc thoughts

Hall of Odd Giants Injuries

This season has the feel of the pre-2010 era, where doom seems to be around every corner in the minds of Giants fans.  Bumgarner just added his name to Jeff Kent in the pantheon of dumb Giants injuries related to motor bikes.  And to the long list of odd injuries.

My memory has been worse lately but here are the ones I remember, please add on in the comments.   I remember Roger Metzger cutting off a couple of fingers making a doll house for his daughter.  Mike Ivie sliced open his finger, I think he was skinning a fish.

That gets me in the special portion of the Hall of Odd Giants Injuries, dedicated to that one-man injury machine himself, Jeremy Affeldt.  Which makes sense since he is a lefty, lefties do have a different way of thinking and doing things.  He also sliced open his finger, I think he was separating two frozen hamburger patties.  His young but large son jumped in his arms when he returned home one time, and I think that injured his knee.  That one, maybe, was a blessing in disguise, as it forced him to use a brace to pitch, which stabilized his leg, and thus his form/mechanics, and he started pitching well, he noted once in an interview.  He also injured a knee (can't recall if it was the same one) water-skiing.

I guess you could also include Freddie Sanchez and Marco Scuturo as well.  From what I recall, both injured themselves on the field, for seemingly ordinary moves, but both were injured so much that they could never return.  Then in the gift that keeps on giving category, Scuturo in his last attempt to return, threw a ball that cold-cocked Brandon Belt, and started his summer of concussion symptoms.

I'm sure there are many others, these are the ones that comes to mind, please share if you recall others.

Silver Linings of Bumgarner Injury

I've been accused of being an optimist, and I've railed against that term for a long while now, because I try very hard to take an objective view of any situation, because I try to look at both the good and the bad of any situation, and I have tried to use data where I can to help explain my position, good or bad.  I will admit realizing at some point that I ended up being an "optimist" because there was so many Giants fans who seems to love to wallow in the bad, that I didn't feel the need to point out what was to me the obvious bad, and instead try to see what good is out there that might be missed.  But I've never left out the bad if I saw bad.

And this is bad.  Our ace starting pitcher, and inspirational spirit animal, out two months, and then probably needing an "extended spring training" to get back into playing shape, no doubt, and he'll be doing most of that in the majors and not in the minors.  And I just wrote about how good the rotation is, barring an unusual injury.   I think that this qualifies.

So what good can come out of this?  First, obviously, Blach will get his extended audition to see if what he did last season was real or if it was just the BABIP gods playing with our feelings.  This is up there with Zito going on the DL for the first time, and that gave Ryan Vogelsong his opportunity to make a lot of money.  I think he will get a month to show what he can do, and if he should stumble, then I think Tyler Beede will get his shot at the rotation.  And as a fan, you gotta be excited for one or both of those possibilities.  It is always fun to see how a prospect handles the majors.

In addition, Stratton will get his shot.  He came out of college with four pitches that were projected to be average, and thus he had the potential to be a nice starter.  Then he got hit in the head by a batted ball (which just knocked Kyle Crick onto the DL recently, after his miraculous performances as a reliever this spring training and so far in AAA), and Bobby Evans noted that it clearly affected him and thus the Giants will be patient with him.  And that patience was paying off, he appears to be getting back to where he was before his injury, and so it will be interesting to see how he does in the bullpen.

Lastly, this will take Okert off the Sacramento Yo-Yo tour of mid-California for a while, as he gets the chance to take hold of the Affeldt role (which Will Smith's injury opened up that opportunity) and show what he can do in the majors.  If he can perform as well as he has in the past, he would make it very hard for the Giants to send him back when they need a spot on the roster.  Someone might get DFAed.

Plus, one additional silver lining:  I've been worried about the number of pitches Bumgarner has put on his arm the past few years.  Now he gets a couple of months rest from MLB pitching and routine.  Plus, that means that he'll be that much stronger when it comes time for the playoffs, assuming we can survive his time on the DL.

Giants Rotation Thoughts

And how does that affect our rotation?  Well, where I thought we had some margin of error, now we need guys to step up and perform.  Cueto moves up to become our ace starter that each strong rotation needs.  When we had co-aces, one or the other could stumble a little and we'll be OK.  Now he needs to be as consistently good as he was last season.  Of course, that first start with his first grand slam ever given up in the majors was not a good start towards that.

In addition, Moore and Samardzija needs to step up big time.  They can't be up and down as they were last season.  That was fine when there is Bumgarner and Cueto atop the rotation, that meant that only one of the two needed to shine to have a good turn of the rotation.  They both need to step up and be as good through out the season as they did in their prior great seasons (albeit now, many seasons ago).

The wild cards will be Cain and Blach.  Cain has been pitching as well as I had hoped he would 2-3 or so years ago.  It doesn't prove that he's back, but you have to start somewhere good first and so far, so good.   If he returns to prior goodness, that takes considerable pressure off of Moore and Samardzija to both perform well, then we only need two of the three.

As Schulman speculated, maybe the Giants bring Cain back for 2018 if he continues to pitch well, and circumstances allow (Cueto would need to opt-out and move on, plus Beede and/or Blach would have struggles as a starter).  I had mentioned that before as well because, with $7.5M already banked for Cain, the Giants only need to pay $13.5M to retain him another season, which is not bad money to pay for one season for an old but still useful starter (think Hudson and Peavy).  And they could always pull a Molina and trade him off mid-season for a prospect, if necessary.

Blach we all hope is close to being as good as he was against the Dodgers last season.  But given that lefties are the Dodger's kryptonite, we won't know without regular turns in the rotation for him.  This will give him that opportunity.

In the grand scheme of the ideal rotation, you need three good pitchers in every turn, one average, and one bad.  If Cain is back, that would make that more likely, as then we need three of Cueto, Moore, Samardzija, and Cain to pitch well.  Then the odd man out and Blach would strive to provide an average start and a bad start, or better.  So far, so good, but we've been there with Cain the past few years, one step forward, one step back.

So Blach (and perhaps Beede) will man the 5th starter role, and if he can do well enough, that will greatly relieve the pressure on the rest of the rotation to be consistently good.  We could then live with good enough.  But if he (and perhaps Beede) are inconsistent and not up to the task, it can be a very long summer for the Giants until Bumgarner returns.  As we saw last season, we can have a bad half season as long as we also have a great half season, and still make the playoffs.

But as we had seen in the odd years of this decade, injuries could ruin the best of seasons, and we've already lost Smith, Williamson, and now Bumgarner to extended injuries, plus Posey for a week.  We even lost the OF who looked like he would get the call up once he got into shape, Melvin Upton Jr. injured himself in extended spring training, and looks to be out a while himself.

Go Giants!


  1. Didn't Chris Brown break a rib from coughing once upon a time? Lance Niekro badly sprained an ankle stepping in a sprinkler hole.

    1. OH YEAH!!! The great Chris Brown, the walking future DL! Don't recall that one, but would not doubt that!

      Your mention jogged my memory some and I recall something like him going on the DL for sleeping wrong, anyone remember that?

      From what I recall, he ended up driving some sort of supply truck during one of the wars the Middle East, then passed away, at some point, after he returned state side. RIP, he was one of my great hopes in those dark days as a Giants fan, so I'll always have fond memories of him, in spite of his issues staying on the field.

      I recall someone hurting himself on a sprinkler, now that you mention it, so I guess that must be Lance. Thanks for both, much appreciated.

  2. LHP Ron Bryant injured himself on a hotel pool slide in an incident rumored to involve alcohol.

    1. Yeah, remember that one, thanks for the memory jog. At the time, wondered how he could flame out like that, but in last 5 or so years, read about how he was goofing off in a hotel pool and injured himself. That you mention alcohol, it makes even more sense now. Thanks.

  3. Some thoughts I posted on Raising Cain (link on the link on the side):

    Not great to start like this, but the team suffered two big gut punches so far this season: first losing Posey for that week, and now Bumgarner out indefinitely until further medical examination. And Colorado is never a great place to be distracted from focus, as you get your head handed to you if you are.

    Yeah, changes will start to happen when June rolls around, that seems to be when they rejigger things and see if they can improve things using internal assets. That's also when they decide whether the young prospects are ready enough for their close up and pull the plug on floundering starters.

    Arroyo most likely will be called up, both because he appears to be ready to provide needed offense and Nunez can both play LF and be moved around as a utility starter, giving rest to LF, 2B, 3B, and SS, and I don't see why not RF as well, if the OF bench don't produce. He's not doing well himself, but well enough OBP for leadoff when he's stealing that many bases.

    Beede only gets called up if injury or Blach ends up blowing his opportunity. Unlike many others, I still believe in Cainer and that he'll continue to do well.

    And a dark horse move that might happen by July that I'll throw out now: Span getting DFAed. He hasn't done much of anything offensively or defensively, his contract is not that large, and Upton should be recovered by then. Upton appears to be an upgrade defensively in CF, plus has power, where it can play lower in the lineup, especially if Nunez is now the leadoff guy (as I've been hoping/expecting after his nice 2016 season).

    And if things are still this bad at mid-season, the silver lining may be that we'll see Cueto traded off for nice bundle of prospects, if he's still pitching this well.
    He's likely to opt out and maybe another team thinks they can sign him if they get him, as well as win with him this season.

    Lastly, I'll bring up whether Bochy has been slipping in recent seasons. That's 3 heart procedures in recent years for a guy whose father passed away in his mid-50's with a heart attack. That will take focus away, both for him and the team. In addition, one stat I've been following is his W/L in 1-run games, and before 203, he was probably historically good, much over .500 and never two bad seasons in a row until 2014-2016 for three in a row. Before, he always had an 8+ wins over .500 season almost every other season (or consecutively), which placed him among the top managers those years. Something to think about.

    1. I had meant to write that on Bochy in this post but in my rush to finish, forgot.

      The Span thought I've had for a few days, but I just thought of the Cueto possibility, now that what I thought improbable - the team not a playoff contender - is looking possible.

      I hope the Giants sign Nunez to a nice deal before the end of the season, his speed is sorely needed atop our lineup, and he shouldn't cost an arm and a leg unless he has a Winn-type of free agent season (so far, he's about what one could expect). Also, he has the skill set that Sabean has been looking to add since signing DeRosa to start in LF a number of years back and tried to trade for that guy from Tampa who has been the ideal super-utility starter, Zobrist.

  4. The team is starting out so bad, that if they do not reverse the situation soon, they will have a tough time even getting back to 81 wins this season. I think the giants internal wisdom of getting rid of Angel Pagan, was probably at least a season too early. We got rid of Pagan and Blanco. I do not mind giving up Blanco, but both was a bit of a gamble. and so far it has really cost the giants. As much as Pagan's sometimes odd routes to a fly ball can drive the fans crazy, he actually is much better than what we have out there now. Maybe if Arroyo is batting 477 by May 24, like Willie Mays did in 1951, he will force his way to the majors. So far Marrero has been a major disappointment and I do not know how much longer they will put up with him. Bowker played better than Marrero and they got rid of him. Gorky has also been overmatched so far by major league pitching. Bochy also seems to be leaving in the starters just a little too long. Maybe he does not trust his relievers, but often the starters are going along pitching a fairly decent game, and then one more inning, and the starter gets bombed. Also the lefty match ups in the pen have not been helpful. We need a minimum of 2 decent lefty short relievers. In late innings with giants down, I swear our guys are trying to hit 5 run homers and have been awfully unclutch. When do we ever come back anymore when we are down by the 8th inning. Seems as if the Cubs came back 3 days in a row when down in the ninth. Giants are not seeing these comebacks. We seemed to homer at a reasonable pace during week one, but since then the giants have fallen to dead last in dingers in the national league. The team is 3-9 on the road. 13 home runs despite series in Arizona, and Denver. Since the all star game last year, the giants just do not seem to be the same team. I guess it coincides with the loss of Matt Duffy. Don't know why, but it just seems to. I know Duffy got hurt last year anyway, but the loss of the Duffman has had an impact. We also lost Will Smith before the season even started. Tough year, but the dodgers kept winning last year, even during Kershaw's lengthy stay on the DL. As much as I hate to predict the MVP early in the season, if Harper does not win it, I think the dodger shortstop will be a prime candidate. Seager seems to me to be a special player. Lets hope Arroyo becomes a mega-star for the giants. We need a boost sometime down the road later in the season.



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