Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Matt Cain is the leader of the Giants' pitching staff.
Make no mistake about it, the Giants' pitching staff will once again lead this team. The offense should be slightly improved over 2012, but it is the pitching that will make or break the Giants in the quest to repeat as world champions.
The starting staff is the main strength of the team. Led by Matt Cain, every pitcher started over 30 games in 2012. It is this reliability and solid performance that sets the Giants' starting rotation above the rest.
Cain is followed by Madison Bumgarner, who threw eight shutout innings against the Dodgers in game two. Tim Lincecum is a big question mark, but if he can return to form, the Giants will boast the top starting rotation in all of baseball.
Lincecum is at the end of his contract and is determined to have a big year. He was embarrassed by his performance in 2012 and came to spring training in great shape.
Although he had a shaky outing, walking seven men in five innings, Lincecum held the Dodgers to only two runs and got the victory.
Barry Zito had his best year as a Giant in 2012. He won several clutch games for the Giants and is due to start the home opener against the Cardinals.
Ryan Vogelsong rounds out the rotation and he won a career-high of 14 games last year. His ERA of 3.37 and WHIP of 1.228 were also excellent.
In addition to the starters, the Giants' bullpen is well-stocked. Sergio Romo opens the season as the Giants' closer. There are some concerns about Romo's durability, but manager Bruce Bochy has done a masterful job of not over-taxing him.
Santiago Casilla and George Kontos are good from the right side and lefties Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez balance out the bullpen perfectly.
Jose Mijares, another left-hander, missed time this spring due to injury, and will need to work himself into shape. The veteran, Chad Gaudin, made the roster and will act as the Giants' long man.
He pitched two shutout innings against the Dodgers to help preserve the Giants' 5-3 win in the rubber game of the series.
The Giants will go as far as their pitching will take them.
If they can remain healthy—that should be into the postseason. As the Giants have proven, once you make it into the playoffs, anything can happen.
With the Giants' pitching staff as it is constructed, their window of opportunity is wide open, as they attempt to defend their World Series crown.