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San Francisco Giants: Quality starts have been few and far between

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 13: Manager Bruce Bochy #15 of the San Francisco Giants takes the ball from pitcher Madison Bumgarner #40 taking Bumgarner out of the game against the Colorado Rockies in the top of the eighth inning at Oracle Park on April 13, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 13: Manager Bruce Bochy #15 of the San Francisco Giants takes the ball from pitcher Madison Bumgarner #40 taking Bumgarner out of the game against the Colorado Rockies in the top of the eighth inning at Oracle Park on April 13, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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The San Francisco Giants offensive woes are quickly taking a backseat to the struggles of the starting rotation.

It doesn’t matter how many runs the San Francisco Giants score if their starting pitchers can’t keep the other team off the scoreboard.

We’ve written at length about the team’s offensive struggles, and this is still a below-average offensive team, but the recent struggles of the starting rotation are quickly becoming an even bigger concern.

On the year, Giants starters have managed just nine quality starts in 38 games. A quality start is an outing of at least six innings with three or few earned runs allowed.

Ace Madison Bumgarner allowed eight hits and three earned runs in six innings against the Colorado Rockies on May 7 for the team’s most recent quality start, and he’s done most of the heavy lifting in that department this season.

Here’s a look at each quality start the rotation has turned in so far this year:

  • Mar. 28: Madison Bumgarner (7.0 IP, 2 ER, L)
  • Apr. 2: Madison Bumgarner (6.0 IP, 0 ER, L)
  • Apr. 9: Derek Holland (7.0 IP, 1 ER, W)
  • Apr. 10: Dereck Rodriguez (7.0 IP, 2 ER, L)
  • Apr. 11: Jeff Samardzija (7.0 IP, 0 ER, W)
  • Apr. 13: Madison Bumgarner (7.0 IP, 2 ER, W)
  • Apr. 24: Drew Pomeranz (6.0 IP, 0 ER, W)
  • May 1: Madison Bumgarner (6.0 IP, 1 ER, ND)
  • May 7: Madison Bumgarner (6.0 IP, 3 ER, W)

The fact that the Giants have three losses and a no-decision among their limited quality starts is just salt in the wounds.

Part of that low total has to do with the fact that Samardzija and Pomeranz have been on short leashes and largely sheltered from facing opposing lineups for the third time.

Still, someone is going to have to step up and help Bumgarner shoulder the load.

If not, the bullpen is going to be run into the ground before the All-Star break. As it stands, Giants relievers rank eighth in the majors with 143 innings of work, and six of the seven teams ranked ahead of them have played more games.

Samardzija has five seasons on his resume with 180-plus innings. Holland has three. Pomeranz pitched a career-high 173.2 innings two years ago. Rodriguez had 14 quality starts among his 19 starts as a rookie.

This staff is capable of more than they’ve shown so far this year.

For the sake of the bullpen, and the success of the team as a whole, the starters need to start turning in quality outings and pitching deeper into games.

Next. Luis Castillo and the ones that got away

Otherwise, it’s going to be a long season for the San Francisco Giants.

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