Monday, June 14, 2010

Martinez, Not Bumgarner, To Start Tuesday

It's not often a fan base gets a sense of relief after hearing a starting pitcher is being placed on the disabled list. But in this case, it might be the right feeling to have.

Giants' 5th starter Todd Wellemeyer and his buzz killing 5.52 ERA has been placed on the DL with a right quad strain, an injury that is not at all serious but could keep Wellemeyer out of the starting rotation for good because of, well, other reasons like his road ERA of 9.67.

The replacement for Wellemyer is, no, not phenom Madison Bumgarner, try Joe Martinez. Remember him?

Martinez has spent the year thus far in AAA-Fresno, where he went 5-2 with a 3.07 ERA.

Is Martinez the right guy to bring up? Is he the best guy to bring up? Of the starting pitchers in Fresno, the Giants had a choice of 3 players: Hacker, Bumgarner, and Martinez.

Eric Hacker is arguably the best overall pitcher for the Fresno Grizzlies (8-3, 3.91 ERA). But the fact that he has pitched 3 total innings in the Majors is something the Giants do not want to take a chance with, at least not right now. They are not trying to bring someone up to let them learn or to teach them. The Giants need wins, and for that they need experience in the Bigs, something Hacker does not have.

Bumgarner (6-1, 3.13 ERA) would be the right guy to call up. He's young and everyone wants to see what this guy can do given that #5 spot in the rotation. But a shaky outing for Fresno in his previous start probably had the Giants a little worried.

So Martinez is the man. Maybe by default, or maybe not. He has experience in the Majors and can go out there and give the Giants 5-6 innings of work, which is all they need from him. Also, he is coming off a complete game on June 4th.

What does this mean for Bumgarner and all others who can't wait long enough to see him? I think it's a great move not bringing him up. This relieves some pressure from him. After all, he is only 20 years old.

Don't rush him. Sure, he might be ready, but a start in the Majors after a bad outing in AAA is not the best way to bring your best pitching prospect into the Major Leagues.

Bumgarner will have his chance, just not now. Martinez will hold the fort down, though. He has that kind of stuff. But he may be just the temporary solution until Bumgarner is ready.

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