Apr 12, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain (18) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Four games into the San Francisco Giants’ 2013 season, the starting five was making history – becoming the first team since 1977 (and second since 1916) to not give up any earned runs in their teams first four games.
For Giant fans, it was much of the same – elite pitching doing elite pitching things. The backbone of the Giants continuing to do the thing that helped them win two of the past three World Championships – pitch. However, thirteen games later, a unit that didn’t give up a single earned run through nearly 27 innings currently sits last on the National League ERA leaderboard, their starters amassing a nasty 4.95 ERA – a shocking downward spiral given the early returns. Even more shocking given they had a 0.00 ERA going into the seasons fifth game.
As with any numbers, they can be skewed to a readers desire, but trying to find a shining glimmer of hope in being out-homered 15-3 during the Giants’ seven game roadie (8-1 in Chicago and 7-2 in Milwaukee) – especially with the wind blowing in during much of the Chicago series, isn’t an argument I’d like to try to win.
The Giants’ pitching, namely the starting pitching, was dreadful. But despite the ugliness, until it proves to be more than just a stinky stretch of stench, the reasons to worry are little. The Giants starters have dealt with two extremes this year – extremely hot and extremely cold, with little area for comfort in-between. More than that – the big inning has just destroyed the starter ERA’s and both Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong have been burnt by the crooked number in multiple starts, but otherwise looked relatively good outside of that lone inning.
Potentially the most alarming start to season by all starters would be from ace Matt Cain who despite two wonderfully pitched games also has two implosions where he gave up 16 earned in just 9.2 innings of work. The Giants’ horse hasn’t had a pitfall of numbers like that since 2010, but, that didn’t work out too badly for Cain or the Giants, which leads to patience.
No doubt, it’s been an ugly stretch of games for the Giant arms – especially the starters. But the numbers eventually will even themselves out. It’s a lot more fun to freak out than preach patience, but, all will be fine.
Now – stay tuned tomorrow where I freak out and overreact to Buster Posey catching Tim Lincecum today.