So Brian Sabean announced the Giants 2011 rotation today and it goes like this:
#1 Tim Lincecum
#2 Jonathan Sanchez
#3 Matt Cain
#4 Barry Zito
#5 Madison Bumgarner
I actually think this might be the best rotation to start with for the Giants. Yes, we all know Matt Cain is the 2nd best pitcher in the rotation and after what he did in October, he surely deserved to be recognized. However, I understand the logic here. Bochy likes to split up his lefties and I can't fault him for that. Also, Lincecum and Cain are consistent workhorses. Bumgarner looks to be one in the making. It makes sense to have those high endurance guys sandwiched around the lower stamina guys in Sanchez and Zito. Zito routinely pitches 190+ innings but he usually doesn't last past the 6th inning. Sanchez has a spotty track record when it comes to going deep into games.
It also breaks up the styles of the pitchers, which is good when you're trying to upset the timing of opposing batters.
Lincecum is a power righty with an assortment of breaking pitches.
Sanchez is a power lefty.
Cain is a power righty that relies almost exclusively on his fastball.
Zito is a finesse lefty.
Bumgarner is a nice mix of power and finesse. He's a control guy but he throws hard for a southpaw.
So I applaud Bochy and Rags for coming up with this alignment. Although Zito should be the #5 in terms of talent, it allows Bumgarner extra days off and will lighten his load over the course of the season. This is something the Giants wanted to monitor considering the heavy increase Bumgarner saw last year in terms of his overall innings pitched.
I also think Sanchez is better suited to match up with teams #2's than Zito. The Giants are essentially challenging Sanchez to step up even more than he did last year. He's going to be labeled the #2 and he's going to face a lot of the opposing teams co-aces at the beginning of the season. It should give Jonathan a confidence boost and should help motivate him.
The current rotation will slot Tim Lincecum against Clayton Kershaw on Opening Day in Los Angeles and Boch will hand the ball to Sanchez to start the home opener against St. Louis, a job Sanchez performed last year against Atlanta. However, this time he'll have to harness his emotion as the WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS banners are lifted in front of what will be a raucous crowd.
The Giants are 1 month and 5 days away from officially defending their Title. Get excited.