April 05, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) Madison Bumgarner was 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA in six spring training starts.

No need to worry about the San Francisco Giants' ace. The left-hander feels good and is coming off one of the most dominating postseason performances ever.

''No matter what anybody else expects, it will not be as much as the expectations I have for myself,'' Bumgarner said.

Bumgarner and the World Series champions certainly will have expectations following them when they open the season Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Last season, the Giants won their third title in five seasons after outlasting the Kansas City Royals in seven games.

Bumgarner carried the heaviest load for San Francisco, going 4-1 in the postseason, including 2-0 with a 0.43 ERA and a Game 7 save in the World Series.

The Giants will look a little different behind him, though.

Slugging third baseman Pablo Sandoval is no longer in the lineup after signing with Boston. Right fielder Hunter Pence is out, possibly until May, with a broken forearm.

The new third baseman will be Casey McGehee, who was acquired from Miami, and outfielder Nori Aoki joins the Giants after playing against them with the Royals in the World Series.

The Giants may look a little different, but the approach will be the same.

''If you can play every day like opening day and get yourself up like you do for opening day, you're probably going to have a good year,'' Giants manager Brucy Bochy said. ''That's how we like to play every game, that it's the most important game of the year. Opening day is that day. It's an important game. It probably helps set the tone a little bit.''

The Diamondbacks are just hoping to be better after a dismal 2014 season.

Plagued by injuries and inconsistencies, Arizona finished 64-98 last year, worst in the majors and second-worst in franchise history behind its first season in 1998.

The Diamondbacks began a roster purge at the trade deadline and continued to overhaul the roster during the offseason.

They had plenty of competition during spring training and have some good players on offense, particularly with All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and center fielder A.J. Pollock healthy.

The key in the desert, though, will be pitching.

Arizona will start the season with two members of its rotation, Bronson Arroyo and Patrick Corbin, still recovering from Tommy John surgery.

The Diamondbacks will start the season with right-hander Josh Collmenter as their No. 1 starter.

The over-the-top-throwing right-hander opened his career as a starter, spent time as a long relieve and was back to being a starter again last season.

Collmenter's hard work and solid numbers - 31-27, 3.42 ERA in four seasons - earned him the starting nod on opening day.

''It's an incredible honor to be the guy to take the ball the first day and hopefully set the tone for the season, get us off to a good start and we can get some momentum early,'' Collmenter said.

You May Like