San Francisco Giants Midseason Grades: Offense, Defense and Pitching

Starting Pitching

July 6, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT

Consistent, stellar starting pitching is one of the main reasons why the Giants have won two World Series titles in three years. Ironically, starting pitching has been one of the Giants’ biggest inconsistencies all season.

First of all, Matt Cain, the ace of this pitching staff, has struggled mightily. His last two starts have been especially concerning. He faced the Dodgers on July 5th and only lasted 2.1 innings while giving up eight earned runs. In his last outing, he faced the Mets and lasted a career-low 0.2 innings while allowing three earned runs and walking three.

Cain currently has a 5.06 ERA in 112 innings in 19 starts. He’s struck out 103, but he has walked 37 and allowed 16 home runs. What’s even stranger about Cain’s outings this season is that he has a worse ERA at home than on the road. Last season, Cain had a 2.03 ERA at home, which is incredible. On the road, he had a 3.56 ERA. This season, Cain has a 5.94 ERA at AT&T Park and a 4.27 ERA on the road.

Barry Zito has had the exact opposite problem this season. Overall, Zito has a 4.88 ERA in 103.1 innings in 19 starts. At home, Zito has an impressive 2.45 ERA, but, on the road, he has a 9.89 ERA.

Ryan Vogelsong struggled at the beginning of the season too. Vogelsong has a 7.19 ERA, but has only started in nine games after injuring his hand on May 20th. His injury was an unfortunate situation, because he was starting to pitch much better the night he got injured. Vogelsong had surgery to repair the dislocated pinky on his right hand, and he is expected to come back the beginning of August.

Chad Gaudin has admirably filled in during Vogelsong’s absence. Gaudin has a very impressive 2.39 ERA in six starts and 24 total games. As a starter, Gaudin has held opponents to a .215 batting average and he’s struck out 27. Because of Gaudin’s dominance, he will most likely stay in the starting lineup when Vogelsong returns.

Lincecum struggled at the beginning of the season, but he has looked great in the past few weeks. Lincecum had a horrendous May with a 6.37 ERA but looked better in June, and, in the month of July, Lincecum has an impressive 2.53 ERA. Of course, he also threw a no-hitter on Saturday night against the Padres. Lincecum recorded 13 strikeouts and threw 148 pitches in the no-hitter.

The most consistent starter for the Giants this season has been Madison Bumgarner, who currently has a 3.02 ERA in 125 innings in 19 starts. Bumgarner has struck out 122 so far, and he’s proved to be the Giants’ ace this season. He was also recently named a 2013 NL All-Star.

Grade for the starting pitching: C

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