San Francisco Giants: 3 Keys to Finishing Out Season Strong

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Starting Pitching

Aug 8, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain (18) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants’ acquisition of Mike Leake at the trade deadline certainly boosted their overall starting rotation, but now that Leake is on the DL, the Giants are back in a familiar situation of starters struggling to eat up innings.

In the Giants’ four consecutive losses to the Cubs this past weekend, their starters only recorded 17 innings in those four games. This is unacceptable, especially late in the season when the bullpen needs some rest, and the team is fighting for a playoff spot.

This trend was one of the reasons why the Giants acquired Leake. He has the ability to go seven or even eight strong innings into a game. In addition, he works at a quick pace, which allows the defense to be stronger and makes Buster Posey‘s job a little easier too.

Matt Cain and Jake Peavy have each made seven starts since returning to action in July. Cain has only lasted more than five innings three times in his starts so far, and he’s currently posting a 5.59 ERA. This is a slightly inflated stat though, due to his small sample size of starts.

This period has been somewhat like Spring Training for Cain, as he’s been fine-tuning his mechanics and getting back into the rhythm of starting every five days, but he will have to show some more durability soon if the Giants want to make the playoffs. Cain is known to be a work horse, and he needs to get back to that mentality of eating up innings.

Peavy has been a little more successful in his starts, as he’s recorded six innings or more in all of his starts since returning but one. He currently has a 3.75 ERA on the season.

Overall, Madison Bumgarner and Chris Heston have been bright spots in the rotation, although they have had some sloppy starts recently. Once Leake is back, he will round out this rotation, but the Giants’ starters need to have long outings while he’s out to steady the rotation and give the team the best chance at staying in competition for a playoff spot.

Next: Infield Depth