The above photo shows Matt Cain before last year’s home opener. He was scheduled to start next Monday’s home opener against the Rockies, but that is very much in doubt after today’s bad news. Cain reportedly suffered forearm tightness after his last Spring Training start, and today the Giants announced that Cain underwent an MRI and his first start on Wednesday is in question.
And that’s not all! Ryan Vogelsong will start in place of Jake Peavy tomorrow in Phoenix, as Peavy is dealing with a sore back and recently dealt (or may still be dealing) with a case of “dead arm,” which Peavy and the Giants hope will come back to life soon.
As a result, the Giants’ 2015 season was in the balance before Josh Collmenter threw his first pitch to Nori Aoki. Forearm tightness is often the precursor to Tommy John surgery, although we should be clear that no decisions have been made (publicly). Maybe it’s just a different kind of elbow iffiness from what he experienced earlier in Spring Training, but it’s just pain from his previous elbow surgery and not a problem with his ulnar collateral ligament. Hey, if hoping that his UCL is completely healthy makes you feel better on Opening Day, go for it.
Perhaps he just has a small tear to his UCL, and he can pitch through it. That’s what Masahiro Tanaka is doing, and … wait, just a sec while I check today’s boxscores … yeah, everyone reading this should probably go ahead and ignore Tanaka’s performance against the Blue Jays. Just trust me.
If the Giants’ remarkable run of Tommy John surgery avoidance is about to end relatively soon, what are they going to do? They don’t want to use Yusmeiro Petit as a starter, probably because they need a dependable “long man” pretty badly with this motley crew — Tim Lincecum averaged 5.6 innings per start last season and Tim Hudson is coming off his second ankle surgery in two years. Besides Petit, who else can fill such a vital and unpredictable spot in a bullpen? The Giants don’t want to go the Juan Gutierrez route again if they can help it.
Since it’s natural to wonder if Cain’s season is over before it had a chance to get started, and the smart move is to avoid rushing Peavy in April (given his age and the fact that he’s under contract for next season), the “10 predictions” section of this morning’s 2015 San Francisco Giants preview is already incomplete. Although now I’m almost certain that prediction No. 8 is going to come true.
Since all we can do at this point is speculate while watching tonight’s game, I’ve whipped up a few more predictions.
1. We’re going to see a lot of Heston, a 26-year-old who had a 2.40 ERA in 15 Cactus League innings.
2. Bruce Bochy is going to use George Kontos 85 times before the All-Star Break.
3. People will make jokes about Barry Zito coming back. Oh, who am I kidding, that’s already happening. (Phony prediction, scrap that one.)
3. People will call for the Giants to send Andrew Susac and whatever else it’ll take to the Phillies for Cole Hamels. That’ll probably happen by 9:07 am tomorrow. (And feel free to replace “Phillies” with “Reds” and “Cole Hamels” with “Johnny Cueto.”)