Part of a new season is seeing the early struggles of players, and how freaked out ballclubs are by these difficulties. As expected, the Arizona Diamondbacks are trying to take pressure off of Shelby Miller, while the San Francisco Giants aren’t in a hurry to start changing things with Jake Peavy and Matt Cain.
Miller, unlike the two Giants starters, is new to the current situation. He played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2012 through 2014, joined the Atlanta Braves last season and was traded by the Braves to the Diamondbacks, with Dansby Swanson, Aaron Blair and Ender Inciarte making the trip in the opposite direction. The 25-year old, making $4.35 million this season, has pitched through just 23.1 innings in six starts, going 0-3 with a 8.49 ERA, 1.971 WHIP and striking out just as much as he’s walking batters. The Diamondbacks, in the meantime, are 12-17.
The team’s general manager, Dave Stewart, thinks the pressure of coming to Arizona for such a high price is getting to Miller: Shelby Miller, I think, it’s more really just he’s feeling some pressure of the trade: the players that we traded for him, trying to fit in, I think the whole ordeal has just been different for him leaving St. Louis going to Atlanta. I think he’s feeling some of the pressure of Arizona’s expectations to win. There is no pressure here, on him. He needs to go out there, forget about everything and throw like he has in the past.
In San Francisco it also hasn’t been the hottest of starts, going 15-14, which is still good enough for number one in the NL West, but the Giants expect better. Two problems they have are the performances of Peavy and Cain. Peavy, who has been with the Giants since 2014, winning one World Series, is 1-3 with a 9.00 ERA through six starts, making it through only 29 innings. While his strikeout per walks ratio remains as it usually is (3.13), his WHIP is at 1.897, giving up more hits and earned runs than anyone else in the National League.
Cain, a Giants player since 2005, has been on the decline for the last few years, but is doing extremely poorly this season. He has a 7.00 ERA and an 0-3 record through five starts and 27 innings. The Giants aren’t making any changes for now and their interest in Tim Lincecum is probably for relief purposes and not the rotation. But that’s for now. When $36 million you’re investing is doing so poorly on the mound, sooner or later, changes will happen.