With the incredible success that the starting rotation had for the San Francisco Giants last season, the bar has already been set really high for 2011. And with 3 Cy Young awards, a no-hitter, and countless shutouts to their credit, the Giants starters are more than qualified to have high expectations then many rotations around the MLB. Here’s how the starting pitching shakes out for the 2011 season:
The 5’11" 170 pounder that is affectionately called the freak is set to lead this rotation to the postseason once again and hopefully even more. The 2 time Cy Young Award winner and three time National League All-Star will be looking to improve on his 16-10 record last season and the 3.43 ERA that came with it, hoping to get to the under 3.00 ERA range that won him his Cy Young’s. Timmy has been training hard and is focused on success, which will hopefully come to fruition in the form of an All-Star appearance, significant Cy Young votes, and a trip back to the fall classic.
The ‘Sanchize’ as I like to call him was an intergal part of the Giants championship season last year, and a move up into the second slot in the roation shows the confidence skipper Bruce Bochy has in the young left hander. His 13-9 record and 3.07 ERA were the best of the team last year, and his 205 strikeouts were only second to Timmy’s 231 on the team, the first time Sanchez eclipsed the 200 mark in K’s for his career. I’m hoping that the Sanchize can maybe pitch his way into the All-Star game this year, and will be vital to the success of the Giants the whole year long.
Cain has been a workhorse ever since he joined the club in 2006, and doesn’t look like he’s going to be stopping anytime soon. He’s been an All-Star in 2009, he’s been on the ballot for Cy-Young voting, and after his ridiculous streak he put together during the postseason last October, it’s safe to say that Cain could be an ace with another staff, but instead makes the Giants just absolutely stacked with starters. Cain finished last season with a 13-11 record and a 3.14 ERA, which he will also be looking to improve on, and the 223 innings he pitched last season were the highest of his career. Nevertheless, Cain is set to bring the pain on anyone who gets in the batters box.
For a guy who doesn’t turn 22 until August 1st of this year, Madison Bumgarner has had himself one heck of a career already. His midseason call up last year was one of the best moves the Giants made, and his showing in the postseason showed the world that this youngster and poised and ready to be great in this league. He finished the regular season with only 18 starts and a 7-6 record to show for it, but his 8 scoreless innings in game 4 of the World Series is something that will be remembered for a long time, and has undoubtedly given the man the confidence to be a great starter in the MLB.
The zen master hasn’t really shown much of his form from his Cy Young days with the Oakland A’s, but is still one of the better 5th starters in the game today. With his 9-14 season last year and his well documented snub from the postseason roster, on could say Zito has something to prove this season to his team and the rest of the league that he’s still got his stuff and that he’s got the ability to be a postseason pitcher. You don’t win Cy Young’s out of luck, there is always some skill there, and if you ask me Zito still has it. He’s going to be an inning-eater for the G-Men this year, and any more wins he can snag for us all the better.