The SF Giants starters may very well be this team's fatal mistake

SAN FRANCISCO – Every baseball team must discover a solution to pitch at the least 1,400 innings per season.

Starters, openers, relievers, closers, bulk and mop-up guys all need to contribute to that big number.

And now, in June, it's hard to assume the Giants reaching that number without setting their bullpen on fire.

The Giants currently have 4 starting pitchers, but only certainly one of them will be relied upon to consistently perform well when he's on the mound.

The results of too few players and too little room to maneuver? So far this season, Giants starters have thrown just 280.1 innings. That's lower than five innings per start. Sure, there are one or two opening strikeouts that skew the info, but you possibly can't skew the second-lowest starter performance in baseball. They're already 60 innings behind the National League-leading Phillies.

Of course, the Giants were last in baseball in innings thrown by starting pitchers last season. The three teams above them in that statistic were the Athletics, Rockies and Red Sox – all three were last-place teams, two teams with 100 losses.

But this season needs to be different.

In the very best case, it is similar result otherwise.

The Giants' starting pitchers needed to enhance early this season. It looked like that for some time, but now the situation seems bleak.

While Logan Webb is able to staying in games for a very long time, there's one player who doesn't belong within the rotation. Going into Friday's series against the Yankees, the Giants' second-most reliable pitcher wasn't reigning National League Cy Young winner Blake Snell or super-talented Kyle Harrison — it was retrained reliever Jordan Hicks.

And this game brought into even greater query whether Hicks could proceed to fill that role.

The first cracks appeared a couple of weeks ago, but can now not be denied.

Hicks, the one-time 100-mile-per-hour flamethrower, signed with San Francisco because he wanted to begin games, and he modified his arsenal to higher fit that role. Gone was the heavy heat, and in his place got here a combination of sinkers, splitters and sweepers that, while not triple-digit, brought loads of speed and much more movement. The result was an excellent first month of the season – he had a 1.59 ERA after 34 innings.

And while that ERA didn't jump in May, it's now at 2.70 (he allowed 4 runs in 5.1 innings against the Yankees on Friday), and he's only been good in those five innings during the last month.

Is that something the Giants can handle? Even acceptable? Absolutely.

That is, if Hicks were a No. 4 or No. 5 starter.

But while Snell is a shadow of his former self and nobody knows when he'll be back to full strength, and Harrison is popping right into a one-pitch pitcher whose one pitch isn't nearly as good because the Giants say, Hicks has grow to be the linchpin of that rotation. Maybe even the linchpin of the team.

And it looks really wobbly.

On Friday, he allowed two monster home runs from Aaron Judge, which accounted for all 4 of his runs allowed. Sometimes you could have to tip your hat to Judge – he's on a scary run immediately and Hicks has struggled with him.

“Other than that, I thought he pitched well,” manager Bob Melvin said of Hicks.

Other than that, nevertheless, Hicks allowed 11 hard-hit balls (with an exit velocity of over 95 mph) and had eight countercontacts at 100 mph.

Let me put this in context for you: The Yankees finished him off.

The Brox Bombers have a stellar lineup, but for Hicks, it's becoming a trend.

Hicks' percentage of hard hits against him increased by 14 points in May – nearly half of the contacts against him in the sport are hard hits. The variety of hits against him has nearly doubled because the first month of the season, and his overall velocity has dropped significantly – he's lost almost two miles per hour in total because the start of the season.

There are a whole lot of warning signs here and I do know the Giants see them.

But Melvin continued to risk by leaving Hicks in the sport for 101 shots yesterday.

What other alternative did he have? It's identical to when the Giants drafted Hicks after he spent the morning before a game against the Rockies last month puking his guts out.

The logic: “Our bullpen has been pretty battered lately.”

And unless there are drastic changes to the starting lineup, “recently” becomes “for this season.”

Now, Keaton Winn will return in the following few days to take the No. 5 spot within the rotation. We'll see if we see the Winn from the start of the season or the one whose ERA exploded to six.17 in his last three starts before he went on the injured list.

And while Alex Cobb has suffered several setbacks while rehabbing from hip surgery that put his return to the team in any capability unsure, one other former Cy Young winner, Robbie Ray, stays heading in the right direction to affix the Giants by the All-Star break. That may very well be a blessing. But his signing could also come too late to avoid wasting this rotation.

Three of the Ginats' 4 regular players are facing downward pressure. It is difficult to assume a few of them getting promoted again. And the potential reinforcements are jokers at best.

And for a team aiming for a wild card spot, that won't work.

The 2021 Giants spent the ultimate weeks of the season with a three-man rotation, leading Johnny Wholestaffing to a 107-win Western crown.

But this was a vital step towards the finish line of a blissful season.

Do something similar for 4 months – the last two-thirds of the season?

This is solely a pointless exercise and solution to be sure that this season shall be anything but magical.

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