J.Ross: Is the San Francisco Giants Season Done Before It Even Starts?
I had the privilege the other night to work the San Francisco Giants vs. Sacramento Rivercats exhibition game at Raley Field. The game will hopefully become an annual event. The fans of baseball in Sacramento enjoyed an evening that showcased the local team along with the big club that so many people are a fan of. The Giants entered the night on a sour note however.
Two days prior to the game in Sacramento word came out that Jeff Samardijza was going to miss time due to an injury in his pectoral muscle. The shark led the NL in innnings last year and has proven to be a very reliable innings eater. The next day (Friday) Giants ace Madison Bumgarner took a comeback liner off his pitching hand. A broken bone later and Saturday surgery has MadBum on the shelf for close to 3 months. This was devastating news to the Giants and to their hopes of erasing the memories of a 98 loss season.
San Francisco spent the off-season addressing their weak lineup. Additions of all-stars Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen should bolster a lineup that was the worst in producing home runs and near the bottom in total offense. This offense will be critical to see if the Giants can hang around while Bumgarner is out. The bullpen was an area of weakness last year too. There feels like a lot of “if’s” to start the season for the Giants.
San Franicsco has even tinkered with their rotation going into Thursday’s opener. Instead of putting Johnny Cueto against Clayton Kershaw the Giants have elected to give the ball to Ty Blach. This will put Cueto on the bump on Friday in game 2. The juggling has already started and with a division that has an improved Padres team and the other three teams all made the post-season last year you can see how difficult this could be for San Francisco.
The start of every season is filled with hope and promise. The Giants will begin this year with a hope that they can hang around until all their pieces are back. This feels like a big ask and could put the Giants in a large hole that they may never get out of. I hope I am wrong but baseball’s long season isn’t always forgiving. For the Giants sake they better hope that the moves they made will work. The promise of a 5th straight even year to the post-season will clearly be tested.