Madison Bumgarner made his 2018 debut for the San Francisco Giants, but will it be enough to jump-start the team’s season?
Tuesday night was a big one for San Francisco Giants fans. Madison Bumgarner, the Messiah with a nasty curve, returned after missing the first two months of the season on the DL. Bumgarner didn’t win his return, but just having him back is a boost the team didn’t know how much they’d appreciate until it happened.
The big question, with Bumgarner back, isn’t whether he should be traded but whether he makes the Giants legit contenders?
In fact, the Giants were never really out of contention, to begin with. For all the lacklusterness the season has provided, San Francisco is one small hot streak away from jumping out front in the NL West.
A lot worked against them at the start of the season, Bumgarner’s absence is one of many. Los Angeles falling off a cliff thus creating an opportunity for the Giants they didn’t seize, didn’t help. The fact that the Diamondbacks did seemingly seize that opportunity also didn’t help. Even the optics of the Giants being a fourth-place team seems bad, but there’s light if you look hard enough.
Despite being in fourth, San Francisco is less than three games out of first. Given how Arizona has regressed and how shaky the Dodgers are, the Giants have a real shot at turning this season around.
It’s also only June, which should go without saying but has to be said.
The work is far from being done: Bumgarner comes back to a pitching rotation that is near the bottom of the Majors. That could change on a dime; both Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija are on the DL but looked impressive. They return could provide a three-headed monster that drags San Francisco out of the hole. With all three teams in the NL West not in a position to make a big move at the deadline, the stars are aligning for the Giants.
A lot can still go wrong, but the Giants are in an interesting enough position that we’re all willing to see how this goes.