Thanks to a heroic outing by Madison Bumgarner, and a go-ahead three-run home run in the ninth inning by Conor Gillaspie, the San Francisco Giants have advanced to the NLDS to face the Chicago Cubs. With Bumgarner’s postseason heroics, and Gillipse’s clutch homer, the Giants have momentum going into this series; however, the odds still aren’t in their favor. With the talent in the Cubs lineup, along with the arms in their rotation which feature 2015 NL CY Young Jake Arrieta, veteran John Lester, and 2016 NL CY Young candidate Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs are a complete team, but they’re beatable. Despite the fact that the Cubs are the overwhelming favorites to win this series, the Giants rotation gives them a chance to pull off the upset.
The San Francisco Giants Rotation Poses A Threat to the Chicago Cubs
On Wednesday night, Bumgarner quieted the New York Met bats with a complete game shutout. He proved yet again that when it comes postseason time, he’s the last man you want to see on the mound. He jams lefties, gets big outs, and he can keep his pitch count reasonably low; he threw only 21 pitches in the first three innings against the Mets. While he won’t be able to pitch in games one or two, Bumgarner will be able to pitch game three, and if he continues to pitch at this historic level, the Giants will at the very least, make this a competitive series. While Bumgarner is a historic figure in the postseason, Johnny Cueto is also a presence of his own come playoff time.
While Bumgarner will be vital to their success this month, Cueto will also have a significant impact on the Giants success. Cueto has been the number two in the rotation behind Bumgarner all year, but he has the makeup of an ace. He’s a power arm who can strike batters out, get them out of rhythm with his funky delivery, and one that can pitch in big games. In game two of the 2015 World Series against the New York Mets, Cueto pitched a complete game surrendering only one run, and two hits. Cueto, like Bumgarner, is a big game pitcher, and will pose a threat to the Giants offense. In addition to Cueto and Bumgarner, the Giants present two more veteran arms in their rotation.
While Bumgarner and Cueto will gather all the glamor, starters Moore and Samardzija deserve some respect. While not top tier starters, both Moore and Samardzija are reliable, and capable of going deep into games. It appears that one of them will be starting in game two, which will be a crucial game in Chicago, before the series goes to San Francisco for games three and potentially four. It’ll be interesting to see if manager Bruce Bochy decides to pitch both Moore and Samardzija in the NLDS, or go with Johnny Cueto on three days rest.
The Giants Will be Able to Slow Down the Cubs Lineup
The San Francisco Giants are the clear underdogs in their first round series with the Chicago Cubs, but they will be able to slow down their bats. With one of the best pitchers in postseason history in Bumgarner, and stud pitcher Cueto, the Giants have a formidable one two punch in their rotation. The two of them, along with Samardzija and Moore, will be able to slow down the Cubs electric lineup which features young phenom Kris Bryant, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, the versatile Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, and up and coming power infielder Addison Russell, but some might view that notion as ludicrous due to the Cubs stellar rotation of their own. However, this Giants rotation can match up against the Cubs. There is no other pitching duo outside of Bumgarner and Cueto that can match up with the likes of Arrieta, Lester, and Hendricks. The Giants are in a no lose situation. While everyone thinks that they have no chance to beat the Cubs, the Giants can just perform at the level of play that they’re adapt to, come the postseason. The Giants have the pitching rotation that could potentially derail the Cubs offensive firepower, and are a legitimate threat to win this series.