BREAKING: Bumgarner on DL. Sprained his left shoulder in a dirt bike accident.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) April 21, 2017
Giants fans are familiar with vehicles injuring their players, of course, as this brings back memories of Jeff Kent injuring himself on a motorcycle over a decade ago.
This one doesn't sound like a joking matter, though, as Bumgarner was just released from the hospital. He also has bruised ribs and the shoulder possibly has a Grade 2 strain, per the San Francisco Chronicle. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the expectation is Bumgarner will miss six-to-eight weeks. Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports, though, that there's fear within the Giants organization that it could be even longer than two months.
There are 26 weeks in a full season, so if Bumgarner is down eight weeks, that's nearly a third of the season.
Through four starts this season, Bumgarner, 27, is 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA (126 ERA+), 1.07 WHIP and 28 strikeouts against four walks in 27 innings. In his last three starts, the Giants have only scored two runs in support, combined. Last year, Bumgarner was 15-9 with a 2.74 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 251 strikeouts in 226 2/3 before pitching the Giants into the NLDS round with his third career playoff shutout, this time in the Wild Card Game against the Mets.
For Bumgarner to land on the DL with an arm injury, it did seem that it would need to happen off the field. He's been one of the most durable pitchers in baseball, both on a year-to-year basis and within a season. He just never seems to wear down.
Without him, the Giants' rotation is in trouble at the back end. Johnny Cueto, Matt Moore and Jeff Samardzija should be a fine 1-3, but it's hard to trust Matt Cain long-term these days and there isn't really an obvious option to replace Bumgarner.
Ty Blach could be the man. The lefty is currently working out of the bullpen but made two starts last season. In 21 2/3 career big-league innings, the 26-year-old has a 2.08 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 11 strikeouts.
Chris Stratton has been tattooed in two Triple-A starts. Michael Roth has one career MLB start, but he's also getting knocked around in Triple-A.
There's also top prospect Tyler Beede. The 2014 first-round pick has only made three starts above the Double-A level, all three coming in Triple-A this year. He has a 3.78 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 10 strikeouts against seven walks in 16 2/3 innings. He was good in Double-A last year (2.81 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 8.2 K/9 in 147 1/3 innings), but not great enough to be firmly confident in his immediate success in the majors.
My hunch is the Giants go with Blach. A Cueto-Moore-Samardzija-Cain-Blach rotation for 6-8 weeks on a 6-10 team that needs a left fielder means this is pretty devastating news for the Giants in the early-going.