Baseball begins tomorrow and for the 2018 San Francisco Giants, there are many questions still unanswered.
Just one week ago, the Giants were enjoying one of their healthiest springs in recent memory and were preparing to erase the 98 losses of 2017 from their collective thoughts forever.
Instead, we have added more questions to an already question filled season.
Question #1: When will Madison Bumgarner return from injury?
We begin at the top. The Giants unquestioned ace had surgery last week on his pitching hand and is not expected until June.
Question #2: How good will Bumgarner be when he returns from injury?
He will be MadBum.
With how he was pitching before the injury and the fact that broken bones tend to heal back to 100%, I expect him to be MadBum when he returns.
Question #3: Is there enough protection for Buster Posey in the lineup?
Last year, Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford were expected to be Posey’s protection in the lineup. Now with the additions of Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen, the team’s best hitter should see better pitches to hit and should be able to take advantage of it.
Question #4: Will Longoria and McCutchen be enough to improve the lineup?
Not only do they provide Posey help, but it’s what they also do for Joe Panik, Pence, Belt and Crawford. The top 7 spots in the order will look vastly different from last season and that will take pressure off of the incumbent Giants at the plate as well. Also, Longoria will not be alone, with McCutchen right there with him and vice versa.
Question #5: What’s up with Mark Melancon?
The expensive closer is letting doubt creep in once again about his durability since becoming a Giant with the team giving unusual responses to his latest arm injury. I think it is safe to say that fans should be pessimistic about Melancon going forward and thanking the front office for adding Tony Watson this off-season.
Question #6: Can Johnny Cueto be an ace again?
With Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija out with injury and questions swirling around Melancon, Cueto is the only other big name and big money pitcher left on the Opening Day roster. Cueto started the All-Star game in 2016, but injuries limited his success last season. Cueto has shown flashes this spring that 2016 Cueto is still there, so a lot will be put on his shoulders and shimmying hips between now and June. Cueto can do it, but this answer will be more wait and see.