Jonathan Sanchez Struggles Again As Bumgarner and Alderson Keep Rolling

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IJune 17, 2009

As the season goes on, you want your starting pitchers to get sharper and sharper and shaking off any poor outings to begin the year would be basically forgotten.

The opposite is currently occurring for Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez.

In the first month of the season Sanchez was great, giving up just 10 hits in 17.1 innings. His ERA was sitting pretty at 2.60 and it was looking like the struggles that had bothered him at the end of 2008 were clearly in the rear-view mirror.

As the season has gone on, however, the ERA has ballooned up and Sanchez struggling is almost as common as Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain dominating. His command, although not that sharp to begin the year, hasn’t been anything special.

His ERA in May was 6.00 in six starts and now stands at 7.71 after three starts in June. It’s going in the opposite direction all of us hoped it would.

His line from Tuesday night against the Angels, aside from innings pitched and strikeouts, which also saw his record go to 2-7, looked a lot like what he did in the entire month of April.

Entire month of April: 17.1 IP, 10 H, 7 R (5 ER), 17 K, 12 BB

June 16 vs. Anaheim: 3.2 IP, 10 H, 7 R (6 ER), 3 K, 0 BB

He’s giving up runs and not going deep into games. Not a good combination by any means.

And this is all going on while Sanchez is supposed to be the player that general manager Brian Sabean dangles to other teams in attempts to get a bat to make this team a legitimate contender for a spot in the playoffs.

Things aren’t exactly going according to plan.

Teams that viewed him as a middle of the rotation starter are now reportedly doubting whether he can even hack it at the end of the rotation. He was supposed to fetch the Giants a somewhat potent bat and now he may not be the center of any package at all.

Is it safe to say the Sanchez stock has fallen hard and fallen fast?

While Sanchez is struggling at the major league level, the Giants’ top two pitching prospects, 20-year-old righty Tim Alderson and 19-year-old lefty Madison Bumgarner are dominating the Eastern League at Double-A Connecticut.

Scouts may say the biggest jump is from High Single A to Double-A, but the Giants’ top two young guns have shown no trouble at all adjusting to life on the east coast.

Their combined numbers this season between San Jose and Connecticut are just simply ridiculous when you think about it.

Alderson: 4-2, 2.74 ERA, 65.2 IP, 65 H, 54 K, 7 BB, 1.10 WHIP

Bumgarner: 7-2, 2.01 ERA, 58.1 IP, 48 H, 55 K, 14 BB, 1.06 WHIP

Would the Giants actually consider calling one of these kids up even if they don’t trade Sanchez before the deadline?

It’s something to consider.

The Giants have made it clear that both of them are on the fast track to the majors, but the very cautious fast track where innings and pitch counts are closely watched.  It certainly is understandable; two crown jewels of the system in just their second year of pro ball and key pieces to the Giants’ puzzle in the future.

But with how well both of them have thrown since their promotion a little over a month ago, they have shown they can handle a huge jump in competition and the future pieces to the puzzle may have also put themselves in this season’s picture. They are both very advanced pitchers for their age and their stats have gotten only better as they have moved up the minor league ladder.

In this time where teams are becoming more and more reliant on their farm systems, having internal options like these two is something not many other franchises can say.

Both Bumgarner and Alderson won’t be traded for offense and there is a spot that could very well be open in the rotation as Sabean pursues it, what else could you ask for to give these two flame-throwers a chance to shine?

If the Giants want to contend for a playoff spot and don’t make any moves to improve the offense, can they afford to have Sanchez leaving the game in the fourth or fifth inning on a regular basis?

The answer is no.

The Giants made a move when Emmanuel Burriss was struggling with the bat, they should seriously consider it with Sanchez doing the same on the hill.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!