© Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
For the first time in five years, the San Francisco Giants will not see a pitcher named Madison Bumgarner start opening day. Instead, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Ty Blach will start the season opener on March 29.
It’s official. Ty Blach will pitch the opener for Giants.
— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) March 25, 2018
Blach entered the spring as one of the leading candidates for either the fourth or fifth spot in the rotation. Blach jumped out to three strong starts this spring, boasting a 1.08 ERA with nine strikeouts in his first 8.1 innings pitched, but struggled in his most recent outing. Although he struck out four through five innings on March 17, Blach gave up nine hits and seven runs to the Oakland A’s.
Nonetheless, he finished the spring with an impressive 3.63 ERA with 15 strikeouts over 17.1 innings pitched.
Blach will face the lineup of the reigning National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers, along with Cy Young-runnerup Clayton Kershaw on March 29. It’s worth noting that Blach is 3-5 against Kershaw with a double.
For the time being, the Giants are able to get by with a four-man rotation until April 10 without having their starters pitch on short rest. According to Shea, Bruce Bochy said that’s what the Giants will do.
Bochy plans to use four-man rotation until a fifth starter is needed April 10.
— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) March 24, 2018
In his final start of the spring, Bumgarner was hit by a line drive off the bat of Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals that fractured his left hand. On Saturday, Bumgarner underwent surgery that inserted three stabilizing pins into his pinkie finger.
The surgery will keep Bumgarner from throwing for 4-6 weeks, after which he will have to rebuild his strength and likely pitch a couple rehab starts.