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One San Francisco Giants Position Player and Pitcher Who Need to Improve

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 02: Austin Jackson #16 of the San Francisco Giants hits a bases loaded two-run rbi double against the San Diego Padres in the bottom of the first inning at AT&T Park on May 2, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 02: Austin Jackson #16 of the San Francisco Giants hits a bases loaded two-run rbi double against the San Diego Padres in the bottom of the first inning at AT&T Park on May 2, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA – MAY 17: Jeff Samardzija #29 of the San Francisco Giants is relieved by manager Bruce Bochy #15 during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on May 17, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – MAY 17: Jeff Samardzija #29 of the San Francisco Giants is relieved by manager Bruce Bochy #15 during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on May 17, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

With the aforementioned Bumgarner and Cueto being injured, the de facto top starting pitcher should be the veteran Jeff Samardzija.

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You know, the guy who has made an All Star game and is making $18MM per year through 2020.

Yeah, well he has pitched to a 6.30 ERA over his first 30 innings of the season. This isn’t like his ERA last year, where advanced stats portrayed a much more better picture. His FIP is a brutal 5.67.

So what’s the difference? Well for starters, he’s walking more hitters than he has ever before, as he has posted a 5.4 BB/9.

Coupled with his sudden inability to find the strike zone, is a 6.9 K/9 that matches his career low. These lead to a K/BB ratio of 1.28, which to put it simply, is not good.

However, there are reasons for optimism. The Giants likely rushed Shark back unnecessarily from his pectoral injury because of their depleted starting pitching depth. This could mean that he’s still not 100% and could stand to improve as the season wears on.

He also posted encouraging results in his last start. He allowed eight baserunners (5 hits, 3 walks) over 6.2 innings. All three runs came in a rough 2nd inning, but those sorts of inconsistencies can be worked out in the long run for a recovering pitcher.

With the three youngsters Chris Stratton, Ty Blach, and Andrew Suarez, and veteran Derek Holland all posting ERAs above 4.00, Samardzija is going to get all the chances to prove he can bounce back from these early season struggles.

Even after Bum and Cueto come back, it’s far more likely one of those young pitchers or Holland gets the boot from the rotation over Shark, so get used to him fans.

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