Madison Bumgarner is starting the Giants’ final game before the All-Star Break on Sunday, meaning once he does the Giants’ lone pitcher named to the N.L. All-Star team won’t be eligible to pitch in the game next week in Minneapolis.
Manager Bruce Bochy today, though, hinted there’s a good chance of another of the Giants starters being named to the team as a replacement. Bochy was asked if he has set his second-half rotation and said he wanted to wait until Sunday to reveal that.
“Some of it could depend on the All-Star game, too,” Bochy said. “We’ll have a better understanding once we know exactly what’s going on with the All-Star Game.”
Tim Hudson would seem the likeliest candidate to be an All-Star replacement with his 7-6 record and 2.87 ERA in the first half. But Tim Lincecum has the same number of wins as Bumgarner, a team-leading nine - including his second career no-hitter - and has allowed one run over his last four starts.
All-Star mysteries aside, Bochy said the fact Bumgarner won’t pitch in the game means he could start the Giants’ first game after of the break in Miami next Friday if the Giants want to line things up that way. Bochy also said the performance of their “back-end” starters, Lincecum and Vogelsong, makes it easier to line up the rotation however the Giants see fit.
“If you want to give somebody some added rest, you’re able to do that,” Bochy said. “But they’re all good to go.”
Vogelsong makes his final start before the break today against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander has lost each of his last three starts - but he hasn’t received a single run of support in any of them. The lineup that will try to get him some runs today includes second baseman Marco Scutaro, playing in his first game of the season after rehabilitating a back injury:
And the Diamondbacks’ lineup against Vogelsong:
• Bochy said his message to Scutaro will be to: “Just be who he is.”
“I don’t want anybody to expect too much,” Bochy said. “It’s been a long time for him. It’s just good to have him back.
“We’ll keep an eye on him, but more than anything to have our two-hole hitter back, a guy who can handle the bat, it’s going to be nice to have him here. I’ll have a better idea where he’s at once he plays this game.”
• An item from the Giants’ pre-game notes: Hunter Pence, who’s also headed to the All-Star Game, is only the fourth player in Giants history to have at least 110 hits and score 60 runs before the break. The others: Willie Mays in 1958, Bobby Bonds in 1973 and Jeff Kent in 2000.
That’s pretty good company. Pence enters Saturday’s game tied for second in the majors with 66 runs and tied for first in the National League with 113 hits.
• Bochy said the Giants don’t have a specific date projected for center fielder Angel Pagan’s return from injury, but that “it’s probably going to be a few days after the break.”
Pagan has yet to swing a bat, Bochy said, which makes it difficult to predict his return.