One of Major League Baseball’s most dominant southpaws is getting set to return to the game next week. San Francisco Giants ace, Madison Bumgarner, is aiming to return to the Giants’ rotation next Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Bumgarner has been out all season due to having surgery on his pinkie finger after he was struck by a line drive in spring training.
Bumgarner already had one successful rehab start last Saturday with Triple-A Sacramento, pitching 3.2 innings while fanning eight batters. He is scheduled to make one more rehab start on Thursday with Single-A San Jose. Assuming all goes well Bumgarner will be on track to re-join the Giants’ rotation for next Tuesday’s game against Arizona.
Bumgarner said afterwards that he felt good about his rehab outing, according to the Associated Press.
“I feel pretty good about how everything was working,” Bumgarner said. “My command was good. My breaking balls were doing pretty good also, so that’s what I was looking for, everything headed in the right direction.”
Although Bumgarner knows that he is not at 100% yet, he still feels confident enough to join the big league rotation next week.
“I obviously didn’t know before today, but judging off the way I felt out there, I think so for sure,” Bumgarner said. “I wouldn’t say I’d be back and be in midseason form, but I feel definitely good enough to get some outs.”
The return of their ace would be more than welcomed for a Giants’ team desperate for pitching help. The team’s #2 starter, Johnny Cueto, has been out since late April due to an elbow injury. There was fear, initially, that Cueto may have been penciled in for the dreaded Tommy John surgery, but it appears that he will be able to dodge that. According to Dayn Perry of CBS Sports, Cueto met with Dr. James Andrews and it was determined that he will not need surgery on his elbow. However, he will still be out for another 6-8 weeks due to the injury.
The Giants are, by no means, out of the hunt in the National League West. The team currently sits below .500 with a 25-30 record, but the Giants are also just 5 games behind the first place Colorado Rockies. That being said the Giants are in desperate need of consistency from both their offense and their starting pitching. The team ranks 22nd in runs scored and 23rd in team ERA across the league and, to make matters worse, the Giants rank 30th, also known as dead last, in team fielding with a ghastly 45 errors in 55 games this season.As @ColouroftheIris writes, the nearing return of Madison Bumgarner is exactly what the doctor ordered for the @SFGiants.Click To Tweet
The return of Madison Bumgarner would provide a stabilizing force to a team that has been on a rollercoaster through the first two months of the season. It has been a tumultuous two years for the former World Series MVP, suffering two different injuries that have caused him to miss a lot of time.
In 2017 Bumgarner injured his shoulder in a dirt bike accident which caused him to miss three months of the season. The bad luck only followed him into the 2018 season when he was struck by a line drive back in March. The Giants are hoping that a healthy Bumgarner can regain his 2016 form, a season in which he made a career-high 34 starts, going 15-9 with 251 strikeouts and recording an impressive 2.74 ERA.
Not only is Bumgarner an ace in the regular season but he is properly nasty in the postseason, where the Giants hope to return in 2018. He holds an 8-3 postseason record, with a 2.11 ERA in 14 starts. Bumgarner amazed the baseball world back in 2014 when he was named World Series MVP during which he helped the Giants secure a World Series Championship by going 2-0 with a microscopic 0.43 ERA and a dominant 17/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The 2018 San Francisco Giants have a myriad of problems that need fixing before they can even think about a postseason run. However, a returning ace such as Bumgarner will provide a major boost to their struggling pitching staff. Should Johnny Cueto make a healthy return in several weeks it will provide the Giants with a strong 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation.
Having dependable, strong starting pitching is the first step to helping this Giants team contend in what is a wide open National League West division.