San Francisco Giants: When Will Enough Be Enough?

Andy Bensch@@AndyBenschSenior Writer IJune 23, 2009

PHOENIX - JUNE 11:  Starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez #57 of the San Francisco Giants reacts during the major league baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 11, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Diamondbacks defeated the Giants 2-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Perhaps it would be wise to write an article about something other than the continued struggles of Jonathan Sanchez.

However, since Monday's game was the first I was able to witness in nearly two weeks, it felt necessary to continue to question why Sanchez is still in the rotation.

After sweeping the A's in San Francisco just over a week ago, the Giants were looking to extend their winning streak against their cross-town rivals in the series opener.

Unfortunately for Giants fans, this time around Sanchez was slated to take the ball in the opener.

A week ago, Cy Young Award winners Tim Lincecum and Randy Johnson were joined by future Cy Young Award winner Matt Cain as the starting pitchers in the battle of the bay series.

But, this time around, the Giants were essentially stuck with Sanchez after the organization made the announcement that their much maligned fifth starter would stay in the rotation.

To be fair, many will say that Sanchez's 4 ER in 5 1/3 innings wasn't that bad of an outing.

But, with the deep amount of pitching talent in the minor leagues, the question is why are the Giants settling for mediocrity?

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One would think that a team with a rotation that could potentially include an unprecedented four Cy Young award winners (Matt Cain would have to win this year and Randy Johnson return next season, which isn't completely out of the question) would not be willing to sit pat with poor performance after poor performance from the fifth place starter.

If the Giants' top two pitching prospects Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson aren't ready to make the jump to the big league level, (they are both experiencing their first taste of double A this season) the Giants have capable Triple A pitchers in Kevin Pucetas and Ryan Sadowski.

Pucetas is 6-2 with a 3.59 ERA in 82 2/3 innings and a 1.23 WHIP, while Sadowski is 5-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 72 1/3 innings and a 1.34 WHIP.

Sanchez, on the other hand, is now 2-8 with a 5.54 ERA in 66 2/3 innings and a 1.76 WHIP.

With the Giants built on pitching, it his hard to fathom why it has taken over one-third of the season and counting without trying yet a single different starting pitcher in the rotation.

Especially considering the fact that Sanchez's  performance in the fifth spot has been incredibly below average, it is extremely irritating to the majority of the fan base that none of the minor leaguers have been given a shot.

The 5-1 loss in the series opener against Oakland has dropped the Giants' record to 3-10 in games started by Jonathan Sanchez.

If you were to take a look at the Giants record in all other games started by the rest of the rotation, they are 34-22, 12 games above .500.

Clearly Pucetas and Sadowski are no Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain, but either one of them could easily turn around the Giants' fortunes in the fifth spot of the rotation.

Granted if one of the minor leaguers were in Sanchez' place, the Giants would probably not be anything close to a spectacular record of 10-3 in those 13 games, but they could easily be 6-7.

A record around .500 from a fifth starter would be welcomed with open arms, because naturally the fifth slot is filled with the weakest of the five starting pitchers in a rotation.

However, Sanchez's .200 winning percentage in his decisions is down right awful.

In fact, the only real argument for keeping Sanchez in the rotation is his "electric" stuff. But, Sanchez's fastball has been hovering in the low 90s, not mid 90's, and his slider is staying flat and not breaking.

That being the case, the argument that Sanchez has electric stuff is dwindling and added with his poor mechanics and lack of location, the future for Jonathan Sanchez does not look good.

The chances the young lefty ever turns things around is starting to dwindle, but the Giants have other options.

Even if Sanchez were to reach his potential with another organization, the Giants should not feel as if they let one get away because they have plenty of talent with much more potential than their current fifth-place starter.

My Question is, when will enough be enough?

The Giants have a chance to make the postseason this year, and they have nothing to lose by trying out a different pitcher in the fifth spot of the rotation.

However, they have a whole lot to lose if they continue to leave Sanchez in the rotation.

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