Pitching staffs in baseball: here today, gone tomorrow. Pitching is fragile. Pitching is so important.
I sat there mesmerized watching Madison Bumgarner work his magic, dominate the Kansas City Royals, and roll on for another postseason win, in the lst game of the World Series, and remembered back just a few years ago, to the promise that San Francisco Giants pitching appeared to have.
Now virtually all of them are gone, though the team is shooting for its 3rd World Series ring in five years.
Bumgarner arrived so quickly, became so dominant, became an imposing figure on the mound. You look at him and you see a cross between Clayton Kershaw and CC Sabathia, physically, and Cliff Lee and a Tom Glavine intellectually.
No one could have predicted this type of dominance just 24-months ago, but he grew, he survived, others came, got hurt, and faded.
Matt Cain, as dominant and workman like as you could find, gone after all those innings, recovering from arm surgery. Who knows what he will be like if he returns next season.
Tim Lincecum, with the long hair, wild delivery and the freakish stuff, no hitters, Cy Young Awards, now banished to the bullpen, mop up man. Gone likely forever the greatness of his stuff.
Johnathon Sanchez, a brilliant one season, including a no hitter, and then a flameout, following elbow surgery, bouncing team to team, and out of baseball.
Barry Zito, he of the 75M-free agent contract, dominant once upon a time, then started walking the house, till they let him walk when the contract expired, a shell of what he was when they signed him as a free agent.
As the Giants head to Game 2-tonight, they will ask Jake Peavy, the ex-Padres-White Sox-Red Sox to get them another win. Behind him is the journeyman Yusmiero Petit, a free agent refugee, who either figured out how to pitch, or went to Lourdes to get some holy water.
There’s Ryan Vogelsong, who pitched his way back to the majors after a tour in Japan.
Gone too are the once famous bullpen set up guys, elbow injuries robbing Brian Wilson of dominance, and drug suspensions taking away the best years from Guillermo Mota.
You can draft, plan, trade for, and sign great pitching, but you can never trust it will all workout. So many things can happen to so many arms, just like there are just so many pitches in those deliveries.
The Giants have earned this Fall Classic junket, because as an organization, they keep coming up with pitching. You find them because you know how fragile they are, and you accept you are going to lose them too. Just ask the arms no longer wearing San Francisco uniforms.