MILWAUKEE – The Giants rotation finds itself in a rare position after 14 games.
The starting staff has a 4.78 ERA, which ranks as the fourth worst in the National League.
The good news is that much of the damage is contained within a few innings. Take away Matt Cain’s nine-spot earlier this month and Barry Zito’s eight-run third inning here Tuesday night, and the starters are spinning it to the tune of a 2.89 ERA.
It would be even lower if those five runs against Tim Lincecum back on April 9 vs. the Rockies were unearned. Second baseman Marco Scutaro made a throwing error but it was (correctly) scored a fielder’s choice that only accounted for Troy Tulowitzki to move up an extra 90 feet.
The Giants appealed to the league to reverse the scorer’s decision and make Lincecum's runs unearned, but their request was (correctly) denied.
And then there’s Wednesday night’s starter, Ryan Vogelsong, who has allowed 10 runs (nine earned) over his first two assignments of the season. The Giants need Vogelsong to have a cleaner one this time. Chad Gaudin was used for two-plus innings in relief of Zito. While the bullpen isn’t exhausted, they don’t have their long guy for more than a batter or two, and only for that in an emergency.
Right-hander Jean Machi is here, though, after the Giants officially placed Jeremy Affeldt on the DL with his strained oblique. Machi will be the first guy to pop off his jacket, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
The other reason it’d be a good idea to rest the bullpen: The Giants will need to be at their freshest for getaway day on Thursday. It’s a 12:10 p.m. start Milwaukee time, and Bochy already plans to give second baseman Marco Scutaro a day off. So it’ll be omelets and the Extra Innings package at the Noonan house in San Diego.
Nick Noonan owns seven hits in his first 13 big league at-bats. Yes, opponents are getting a book on him. But they’ve already tried pitching him a few different ways, said Bochy, and the kid keeps finding a way to spray line drives.
In a related note, Tony Abreu (knee) played six innings in an extended spring game Tuesday. It’s a little late for him to compete for that final bench spot, though – and Noonan ain’t getting shipped back to Fresno, that’s for sure.
Whenever Abreu is activated, the Giants will have to get him through waivers before they could option him to the minors.
One more note: Outfielder Francisco Peguero is on the DL for Fresno because he bruised his non-throwing shoulder in a diving attempt. He shouldn’t be out long.
It is raining cats and dogs and smoked hams outside. Thanks for the retractable roof, Bud.