One of the San Diego Padres’ National League West divisional-rivals got some unfortunate news about their best pitcher yesterday.
In news that no baseball fan likes to hear, even fans of the San Diego Padres and other NL West teams that have to face him year in and year out, San Francisco Giants’ left-handed ace, Madison Bumgarner has fractured the pinky finger his left (pitching) hand after taking a comebacker off of it in his Spring Training outing on Friday.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy had this to say about losing his ace, “It’s just horrible news for us. It happened. There’s nothing we can do but push on.” Initial reports have the timetable for his return as six-to-eight weeks.
Bumgarner, 28, is a nine-year MLB veteran who’s won three World Series titles in San Francisco (2010, 2012, 2014). In 231 career starts, he’s pitched to a 3.01 earned-run average with a 1.097 WHIP and a 4.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
After a rough season last year (64-98), the Giants were hoping to turn things around this year by adding former National League MVP Andrew McCutchen in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates and dealing for All-Star third-baseman Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Pitching woes for SF give Padres an opportunity to seize
As the Giants head into the season, they’ll be relying on the rest of their rotation to pick up the slack left in the absence of not just Bumgarner, but another one of their starting pitchers.
Jeff Samardzija, 33, is likely to begin the season on the disabled list with a pectoral strain, as per reports. This leaves the team looking to Johnny Cueto, Chris Stratton, and Ty Blach to perform well with their front two starters out.
The team could look to fill the voids left by Bumgarner and Samardzija in-house by bringing up MLB-ready prospects or by taking a look into the number of pitchers who have already been waived or will be released in the coming days, as teams whittle their rosters down.
With Opening Day less than a week away, and the San Diego Padres looking greatly improved, this could be a chance for the Friars to get off to a hot start and put some separation between themselves and an also much-improved Giants team that, when healthy, figures to be just as competitive as our beloved Padres.