Everyone knew the San Francisco Giants’ starting pitching would be the team’s strength heading into the 2010 season.

However, even those lofty expectations didn’t prepare the Major League Baseball world for what would unfold in the month of April—the starters came out firing bullets.

Extremely accurate and effective bullets.

Tim Lincecum roared from the gates (1.27 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 43:7 K:BB) and three of the other four starters were right on his heels.

Barry Zito (1.53 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 24:11 K:BB), Jonathan Sanchez (1.85 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 33:13 K:BB), and Matt Cain (3.80 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 16:4 K:BB) did their best freakish imitations.

However, the lads cooled considerably when the calendar began turning pages as Lincecum embarked on a Cy-Young-self-seeking journey that lasted several months and “Baked Zito” regressed badly.

That and the presence of the original (and underwhelming) fifth starter, Todd Wellemeyer, killed any historical talk regarding the Gents’ rotation.

Of course, things have changed.

Rookie-phenom Madison Bumgarner grabbed the No. 5 slot in late June, and the 21-year-old hasn’t shown even a slight hint of relinquishing it.

In fact, you could make a strong argument that the grizzled veteran, Zito, is the weakest link at this point.

When a 32-year-old former Cy Young could be the worst option in a rotation, it’s time to think about attaching “all-time” to any flattering description.

But, first, let’s take a closer look at the suspects:

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