On Tuesday, the Giants used 11 pitchers. 11! Without pointing the finger directly at Ryan Vogelsong, it's probably worth noting that it was kind of his fault (OK, finger pointed) that so many pitchers entered the game: he allowed six earned runs over 3.1 innings.
And he's not alone -- the Giants needed another six pitchers during Wednesday's loss, as Madison Bumgarner gave up four earned runs in 6.1 innings. In short, it's a smaller sample for what's been going on with the Giants as a whole, and it's involved bad starting pitching.
“As a group, we’re not quite throwing as well,” Bruce Bochy said.
The good news, as Bochy pointed out, via Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury-News, is that the Giants have a day off before a three-game series against the Dodgers.
And it's not like bad starting pitching is something that's here to stay forever; everyone goes through bad starts, pitchers struggle, etc. To wit, Bumgarner said when he took the mound Wednesday against the Diamondbacks, he knew he didn't have "it."
“I didn’t feel that good tonight and I tried to pitch with what I had and get through some innings,” Bumgarner he said. “You have games like this throughout the year where you don’t feel like you have life on the ball.”
It's just that, for the past few games, no one's been feeling it. Zito coughed up four earned runs in five innings on Monday. Cain gave up five earned in five innings on Sunday. Lincecum pitched well Saturday, but Bumgarner got beat up on by the Cubs Friday, giving up four earned in four innings.
Somehow, the Giants won a lot of those games: in that stretch they went 3-3 and they maintained a 4.5-game lead over the Dodgers, who haven't exactly been stepping their game up.
So, yeah, the starters haven't been good lately and it's resulting in a lot of usage from the bullpen. But the Giants don't trot out some fluke group of guys who've helped them into first place. They have an A-list group of starters.
To maintain a division lead while they struggle is a good thing, provided that things don't get ugly before they pull out of this mini tailspin. That happening against the Dodgers would be a really, really good thing.