For most of the season the Giants have played less games than the Padres. Presently they have played two less games than have the Friars. The Giants therefore find themselves in the position of having a couple extra days off in September. In fact, they only have one more Monday game to play the rest of the regular season. What does this mean? The Giants have the opportunity to tweak their rotation if they see fit to do so. A couple of options quickly come to mind.
Option 1: Go to a four man rotation. Use a spot starter where needed only. Use your best pitchers during the crucial last three weeks.
Option 2: Tweak your rotation. Move up one of the starters in the rotation. Possibly get another start out of one of your best pitchers. Line up the rotation for that last three game series against the Pads.
Why mess with the rotation? It appears that Barry Zito has lost the effectiveness he had to begin the season. he currently has the only losing record (8-10) among starters as well as the highest ERA (4.07). Matt Cain has the lowest ERA (3.11) and could move up a notch in the rotation and possibly get an extra start down the stretch.
What are the drawbacks? Currently the Giants go R-L-R-L-L in their five man rotation. If Zito was dropped or Cain moved up the cadence would be broken. Can Timmy stand the strain of an extra start or two down the stretch? One good start is not proof that he is back to stay. Do you want to press the innings with Bumgarner? No one wants another Strasburg.
So what is the answer? Well, it is better to be a fan and second guess than to have to make the hard decisions. Still, in a crucial game I would rather have Cain on the mound than Zito.