The excitement that comes with Opening Day of a season was further amplified for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, as Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner were penciled in to start opposite each other.
But that changed on Friday when Bumgarner was struck by a line drive in his left hand, resulting in fracture of the knuckle in his fifth metacarpal (pinkie). He underwent surgery Saturday to have three pins inserted into the finger as a means to stabilize.
The Giants have not provided an official timetable for Bumgarner’s recovery, but it can be surmised the left-handed ace will miss a minimum of four to six weeks. Bumgarner’s injury came one day after Jeff Samardzija was diagnosed with a pectoral strain.
The injuries led to some expectation that Johnny Cueto would make the start for the Giants on Opening Day, but that now appears to be earmarked for Ty Blach, according to Alex Pavolic of NBC Sports Bay Area:
Giants are listing Cueto, Holland and Stratton as starters for Bay Bridge Series. Unless they change something, Ty Blach is making an Opening Day start.
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) March 24, 2018
The 27-year-old is entering his third (second full) season with the Giants. Blach made his MLB debut in 2016, pitching in four games (two starts).
One of the outings came against the Dodgers in October, when Blach fired eight shutout innings at AT&T Park to keep the Giants’ playoff hopes alive.
He’s a career 9-12 with a 4.43 ERA, 4.35 FIP and 1.30 WHIP in 38 games (26 starts). Within that, Blach is 2-2 with a 2.23 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 36.1 innings across seven games (four starts) against the Dodgers.
He’s 0-1 in three games at Dodger Stadium, but has pitched to a 1.38 ERA in those contests.