The San Francisco Giants have been bitten by the injury bug early this season. However, with a depleted rotation and bullpen they have still managed to play some solid baseball thus far.
The question is, can they keep this play up until key contributors return from the DL?
When Jeff Samardzija, Madison Bumgarner, and Mark Melancon landed on the disabled list to begin the year, it was clear that other guys would have to step up their game. So far, they have.
Both Ty Blach and Derek Holland have contributed solid starts this year and guys like Reyes Moronta, Tony Watson, and Hunter Strickland (except for that late Easter present to Paul Goldschmidt) have really pitched well out of the bullpen in the absence of Will Smith and Melancon.
Johnny Cueto’s injury has now required young, unproven arms in the form of Tyler Beede and Andrew Suarez to step up as well.
How long can this last though?
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The San Francisco Giants offense has proven sluggish at times, so it’s not as if they can make it up by putting five runs or more on the board every game.
The only way the Giants can contend despite all their injuries is if guys on offense stay healthy.
This is by no means a given considering the fact that only two of eight regular starters are in their twenties (Brandon Belt, Joe Panik), and both have had injury troubles in the past.
Right now, I think that the Giants can continue to scrap and win games with a depleted pitching staff.
If injuries creep into the lineup however, then things could really start to get dicey.
The upside of all of this is that the Giants are still proving they can win ball games without their best guys out there.
It reminds one of 2016, which was kind of the opposite of this year in that it was the lineup that was banged up throughout that year. It forced guys like Ramiro Pena, Ruben Tejada, and Grant Green to start games for the Giants.
As long as the Giants only have injuries on one front, they should be able to survive. But if this turns into a two-front injury war (both pitching and lineup) akin to Germany in the Second World War, then … well we all know what happened then.