The San Francisco Giants pitching staff is officially being put on notice—step up your game.
Pablo Sandoval has gone on the disabled list, reports Mercury News, meaning there's a hole in the middle of the lineup.
While guys like Hunter Pence and Buster Posey are still in the middle of the lineup, it's time for the pitchers to stop depending on the offense to score a lot of runs. It's time for them to live up to their hype.
In 2013, they've been anything but what we saw in 2012.
The starting rotation ranks 25th with 26 quality starts, with only 21 of 33 wins coming from the rotation. And that's not the only problem. They are 24th in ERA (4.75), have no complete games or shutouts, and have walked 132 batters.
The offense has given them 4.3 runs of support per game, yet they still struggle to finish the job.
In fact, it's been the relief corps who has gotten the job done with a 2.83 ERA, which ranks second in baseball.
The supposed ace, Matt Cain, is 4-3 with a 5.09 ERA and 75 strikeouts. Only seven of his 13 starts have been quality, and that's the highest number for a Giants pitcher.
Then there's Tim Lincecum, who has fallen off the map the last two years. Lincecum is currently 4-5 with a 4.75 ERA and 74 strikeouts. Only four of his 12 starts have been quality.
Should I continue?
The best of the bunch has been Madison Bumgarner with a record of 5-4, a 3.58 ERA and 79 strikeouts.
Then there's Ryan Vogelsong, who has been good for the Giants over the last two years. He only has one quality start to his credit and has a 7.09 ERA.
It's not pretty for the Giants rotation.
With the loss of Sandoval, the Giants lose a guy who has been key in the No. 3 hole and one who has been clutch with runners in scoring position.
When runners are on second or third, Sandoval is batting .377 with three home runs and 30 RBI. With two outs, he's destroying pitches even more with a .500 average.
Needless to say, the Giants are losing a lot with Sandoval out of the lineup.
San Francisco has lost seven of its last 12, giving up almost six runs a game in each of those losses. In the five wins, the Giants have scored 27 runs, while only giving up 12.
Seeds of Greatness
Seeds of greatness are there, but it needs to be more consistent.
The starters can't depend on the offense to get them out of jams.
There's a reason why the Giants gave Cain an eight-year, $139.75-million contract before the 2012 season.
He needs to start pitching like the team's ace. He needs to pitch like he did in 2012, when he showed he was worth the money.
As far as Lincecum, he's in a contract year. That should be enough motivation.
And if Zito wants to get even a decent contract next year, he has to improve as well.
There's a lot in this rotation, and they've proven it before. But it's just not showing this year.
Hopefully, the pitching staff gets woken up by a good bat being on the disabled list. They need to stop depending on the offense and start pitching like the all-stars they are.