Madison Bumgarner is not going to become the first San Francisco Giants pitcher to make five consecutive Opening Day starts since Juan Marichal started seven in a row from 1964-1969.
We knew that on Friday after Bumgarner suffered a broken pinky after taking a line drive off the hand.
On Sunday, we formerly found out who will be on the mound Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
It’s Ty Blach.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy called the decision “the simplest solution” by slotting Blach in Bumgarner’s spot while keeping Johnny Cueto, Derek Holland and Chris Stratton in their positions to start the Bay Bridge Series.
And here’s why that’s not the most horrible idea in the world.
Blach has an excellent track record against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In 36.1 innings pitched, Blach has a 2.23 ERA against the boys in blue.
In four starts against the Dodgers, the numbers get even better: 1.67 ERA.
Some state geeks will scream “Small Sample Size,” and they wouldn’t be wrong.
But in Blach’s brief big-league career, he has not faced a team more than the 36.1 innings he’s pitched against the Dodgers. And the 2.23 ERA is the lowest for Blach against any team he’s faced in more than one outing.
Still, those aren’t the numbers some Giants fans think of when they think of Blach.
The numbers they remember are Blach’s 8-12 record in 2017 with a rather unimpressive 4.78 ERA.
In early August last season, Blach was 8-7 with a 4.15 ERA. But then he went through a five-start stretch that all resulted in losses and sent Blach to the bullpen for most of September.
Blach’s numbers during Spring Training were solid — a 3.63 ERA in five starts with 15 strikeouts in 17.1 innings and just one walk.
Even so, it looked like Blach might be relegated to bullpen duty to start the season before Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija got hurt.
Now, he’ll start Opening Day against Clayton Kershaw.
It’s a daunting task, but Blach has been up to the challenge before.
Blach beat Kershaw in a season-saving win on Oct. 1, 2016. He even went 2 for 3 off the Dodgers lefty.