I don't know how many Cactus League seasons I've followed as a serious baseball fan. A dozen. A score. It doesn't matter. But I always get surprised at the end of spring training, when pitchers start throwing more innings. Whaaaaaat? He's coming out for the sixth? Whaaaaaaaat? He's coming out for the seventh?
The season starts in just over a week. Should probably pay attention a little.
That's the thing about these late-spring games: They probably don't mean anything, but good luck telling your brain that. Madison Bumgarner pitched seven shutout innings, sawing off bats and sluttering hitters to death. He struck out nine and walked one. Look in the matted fur that is Bumgarner right now and tell him this doesn't mean anything. I dare you.
There was a baseball game on Thursday night. Madison Bumgarner pitched seven scoreless innings, and the Padres smell. If you can't divine meaning in that, I'm not sure what your problem is. To tell the truth, Bumgarner opened with an 88-m.p.h. fastball, and the ruh-roh sirens went off. Then he humiliated Everth Cabrera like people named Everth deserve to be humiliated, 91 and all, and the night got better from there.
I want to believe this means something.
/rolls up page from 2011 Giants calendar
Why not? Probably means something.
Happy fun facts
- Andrew Cashner is the Padres' Opening Day starter, and he was shellacked. You think Bumgarner's start doesn't mean anything because it's spring? Picture him giving up eight runs and see if you're so glib now, Matt Lauer.
- Buster Posey hit an opposite-field grand slam that had the sound and the look, the look and the sound. A Padres goof on the mound went, aw, raspberries, after he hit it. That's fun to watch in December if EA creates the scene for the trailer for a new game. It's fun to watch in spring. I liked the sound. Also, the look. Of the swing, specifically.
- Ehire Adrianza did this:
I still think he'll be traded, but the scuttlebutt is that he'll make the team because he's out of options. All of these spring maneuverings are funny because half the team is going to start on the DL or some such. But there's a chance Adrianza makes the team, and plays like that are why.
Grist for the pessimist mill
- I'm friends with exactly one Padres fan, and that game would have sucked for him if he weren't ignoring the game completely to watch the Aztecs, along with the rest of San Diego. Why weren't more people watching Bumgarner dominating the Padres? Why weren't more Padres fans nervous and upset about this game, about Cashner getting knocked around? Why? That's some nonsense, right there.
Easy, easy win for Happy Fun Facts. They're 15-4. Over a full season, that's a 127-win season if you extrapolate the winning percentage. That's maaaaath. Look at the math and appreciate it.