21. San francisco Giants – San Francisco fans can relax about Matt Cain, who has put up numbers very similar to previous seasons but simply doesn’t have the wins or ERA to show for it.
The Tigers get their first look at Chicago’s Gavin Floyd Monday. The 26-year-old righty went 3-0 in five starts against Detroit in 2008. Chicago went on to win each of those five contests.
Pena’s an interesting option because the White Sox won’t need a fifth starter more than a few times before early May. Using Pena in a swingman role could allow the Sox to delay their decision on, say, Alejandro de Aza/Brent Lillibridge or at third base for a month longer by carrying an extra position player. Either that, or the Sox could deepen their bullpen by keeping two of Gregory Infante/Jhonny Nunez/Anthony Carter/Freddy Dolsi in case the Sox needed an extra innings-eater to fill Pena’s role when he has an upcoming start. Pena actually had two starts I’d qualify as “good” last year, but those were two of just three career starts-not exactly a good sample size. Plus, Pena is slated to be in the Sox bullpen, so he may not even get a crack at the rotation this spring.
Nunez also played a large role in the Yankees scoring their first run of the night. With Chris Stewart at the plate, runners on the corners, and two outs, manager Joe Girardi ordered up a double steal with Nunez on first and Vernon Wells on third. Nunez went halfway to second base, forcing a throw down and allowing Wells to slip in under the relay back to the plate. Nunez would head safely into second.
James Shields maintained the edge in an all-star caliber pitchers’ duel against lefty ace sale jerseys, but was pulled after 103 pitches. Shields (2.52 ERA) gave up two hits in eight innings, striking out nine and walking two. Sale (3.42 ERA) gave up one run on six hits in 7 1/3 innings, fanning five and walking none.
I find it interesting to see that the 1921-22 New york Yankees made the list. When they acquired Babe Ruth from the Red Sox, a baseball fan’s first thought after all the home runs and the “House that Ruth Built” is that the Yankees immediately dominated major league baseball in the Roaring Twenties after that ill-fated trade by Boston.
Unfortunately for the White Sox, none of these players jumps out as an enticing option to pick up Peavy’s early-season starts. But as long as Peavy doesn’t miss too big a portion of the early part of the season, a few starts from Harrell, Humber, Nunez, etc. probably won’t seriously hurt the team’s chances at making it back to the playoffs.