SAN FRANCISCO -- To nobody's surprise, Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced Saturday that Madison Bumgarner will start on Opening Day, April 4, at Milwaukee.
It will mark Bumgarner's third consecutive Opening Day start. Last year, he surrendered one run and six hits in seven innings while receiving the decision in the Giants' 5-4 triumph against the D-backs. In the 2014 opener, Bumgarner allowed four unearned runs in four innings and emerged with no decision in San Francisco's 9-8 victory, also over Arizona.
Bochy gave Bumgarner the always-prized assignment while responding to a fan during a Q&A session at the Giants' annual FanFest at AT&T Park. Newcomers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija are expected to occupy the next two spots in San Francisco's season-opening rotation, though Bochy has not settled on a sequence. Nor has Bochy determined the order in which projected starters Jake Peavy and Matt Cain will pitch.
Whoever claims the rotation's No. 4 spot will have the distinction of starting the April 7 home opener at AT&T Park against the Dodgers.
Bumgarner, 26, retained his status as staff ace last season by finishing 18-9 with a 2.93 ERA in 32 starts, including a National League-high four complete games, while making the All-Star team for the third consecutive year and invoking comparisons to two of the franchise's Hall of Famers. He became the first Giant to win at least 18 games in back-to-back years since Gaylord Perry in 1969-70.
Bumgarner, who pitched a record 52 2/3 postseason innings in 2014 en route to capturing World Series Most Valuable Player honors, defied skeptics and fatigue by following up with 218 1/3 innings in 2015. That lengthened his streak of 200-inning seasons to five, making him the first Giants left-hander to log at least that many since Carl Hubbell, who notched nine in a row from 1929-37.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.