The Giants' pitching staff was no doubt, one of the best in baseball last year. At the start of the year, it was the ONLY staff in baseball to boast three Cy Young winners (Lincecum, Zito, Randy Johnson), and by the end of the year they added another one to their trophy case.
Compared to all other major league teams, they had the second-lowest ERA (3.55), the second-lowest WHIP (1.28), far and away the most complete games (11), shutouts (18), and strikeouts (1302), also giving up the least amount of earned runs (571).
When you look at the fact that the only team ahead of them in a majority of categories was the Dodgers, it gets a little cloudy. If the Dodgers have better pitching stats, why should the Giants pitching be regarded as more formidable?
Take into account that Dodger relievers threw over 100 more innings than Giant relievers. That's about the equivalent of 11 full games. At the end of the year, those relievers are taxed to their breaking points, and playoff teams with a tired bullpen almost always finish with an early-round exit.
The top three Dodger relievers (Broxton, Belisario, Troncoso) combined for 230 innings in 215 games last year, and compiled a 2.48 ERA. The Giants' top three (Affeldt, Wilson, Bob Howry) combined for only 198 innings in 205 appearances with a 2.63 ERA.
When it comes to September, your pitching staff should be surging, not petering out, and the Giants have the strong starters and durable relievers to maintain that consistency throughout the year.
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