San Francisco Giants Spring Training Preview: Starting Pitchers
By Justin Rodgers
Blach was a huge success for the Giants down the stretch in his rookie campaign. He amassed a 1-0 record with a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings. He made two starts in 2016, none bigger than his second start where he pitched 8 innings of shutout baseball against none other than Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers to help send the Giants to the playoffs. The 25-year-old lefty also pitched 3.1 scoreless innings in the NLDS and is a serious contender to win the fifth spot in the rotation.
Cain will be the longest tenured Giant heading into spring training, but remains a huge question mark to make the rotation. After establishing a career which has featured three World Series rings, a perfect game, and three all-star appearances, Cain has endured some injuries that have hindered him from replicating the success he had early on in his career. Cain went 4-8 with a 5.64 ERA in 17 starts last season and found himself pitching out of the bullpen at the end of the year. Cain has not had an ERA under 4 since he put up a 2.79 ERA in 2012. However, GM Bobby Evans was quoted saying that in a perfect world Matt Cain would take the spot. Indeed, it would be incredible to see Matt Cain return to his former self and win the fifth spot in the rotation, but based on the last few years I would not get my hopes up.
Suarez was called up after posting a 1-2 record with a 2.88 ERA for Triple-A Sacramento to help bolster a depleted bullpen. He was called upon to be the teams long reliever and spot starter. In 22 games during his rookie season Suarez started 12 and went 3-5 with a 4.29 ERA in 84 innings. He is probably the least likely of the three to secure the fifth spot in the rotation, but his ability to pitch in relief might be enough to make the roster if he does well in the spring.