With a strong September the San Francisco Giants have a legitimate chance of winning the National League West, and they need to. For many, the wild card seems like a reasonable, and evidently very achievable goal. While I won’t deny the wildcard isn’t a bad way to get into the postseason, with the vulnerability of our rotation, playing in a wild card game would throw away the Giants’ chances of success deep into October.
You may, and probably should be asking the obvious question: Why? Well — if we do indeed end up in a one game shoot out with, say, the Pittsburgh Pirates, it would obviously be in the best interest of the franchise to pitch Madison Bumgarner, right? No. For two reasons; first: If we are serious about getting deep into the postseason, the Giants’ rotation will have to be at its best. Very best.
A Giants postseason rotation of Tim Hudson, Jake Peavy, Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Hudson isn’t likely to get past a Nationals rotation – who we would likely play if we end up the wild card winner – of Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark, Jordan Zimmerman and Gio Gonzalez. Having Bumgarner pitch twice, however – providing the series goes to five games – may give the Giants serious chance of beating a team like Washington.
Secondly, Bumgarner is scheduled to pitch on the last day of the season. While we could concede the division, pitch Hudson and save MadBum for the wildcard game, that wouldn’t be in the franchises’ best interest. All in all, the wild card pursuit leaves a rather awkward, and difficult situation for the Giants to ponder. Concede the division to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and pursue the wild card by resting Madison?
Or — go all out for the division; pitching Bum on the last day of the season with reckless abandon for the potential wild card game. The latter is the best option. The latter is our only option. If the Giants are serious about trying to win a World Series, or even the National League pennant, we must go all out. All out for the West. September will be some month, folks.