San Francisco Giants: Will Eric Surkamp Have the Madison Bumgarner Effect?

Manny Randhawa@@MannyBal9Correspondent IIIAugust 27, 2011

Remember the name Todd Wellemeyer?

Like most Giants fans, you've probably forgotten about that brief and difficult chapter of Giants baseball in 2010 that included Wellemeyer's implosion.

Why have you been able to forget? Because Madison Bumgarner erased all memory of Wellemeyer's terrible tenure as San Francisco's fifth starter by seizing the rotation spot and never looking back.

Wellemeyer went 3-5 with a 5.68 ERA for the Giants in 11 starts last season before Madison Bumgarner was called up from Triple-A Fresno and made a lasting impression in San Francisco.

Who knew when the lanky left-hander made his first big league start against the Boston Red Sox in June 2010 that the same Madison Bumgarner would pitch a gem for the history books four months later in Game 4 of the World Series?

Bumgarner was a game-changer, because now the Giants had a solid starting rotation from top to bottom, which was so crucial in San Francisco's playoff push and eventual World Series victory.

On Saturday night, another young, left-handed phenom will make his major-league debut in what would normally be the fifth spot in the starting rotation, occupied by two former stars who have fallen from grace, Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez.

Much like last season, the inconsistency, and at some points downright poor performances, that have come from that fifth rotation spot, are becoming a real issue for the Giants who, in their quest to defend the title they claimed last season, have fallen three games behind the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks and see the sand in the hour glass slipping ever more quickly to the bottom.

Surkamp has been dominant for Double-A Richmond, going 10-4 with a 2.02 ERA and 165 strikeouts in 142.1 innings pitched. His WHIP is 1.08.

So the question is, will Eric Surkamp have the Madison Bumgarner Effect?

Saturday night will give us our first glimpse toward answering that question.