Madison Bumgarner was born in the same year as several of the prospects on Baseball America's current top-100 list. This will come up again about 32 times this year, because it always fascinates me. He's so young, so wise beyond his years. He's an absolute treat to watch, even as he's giving up dingers in a meaningless spring game.
Dingers were being served, mind you. I'll ignore most of them. Khris Davis hit one on a 3-0 count, which will happen once a year. Wily Peralta hit one, and he's a pitcher, which is always like someone finding your patrol boat in Battleship on their first turn. Carlos Gomez hit one because he's talented. He's also like Yasiel Puig, but crazy.
The rest of the day was fantastic. Bumgarner's final line was 5⅔ innings, his first three runs of the spring, no walks, and six of these:
The difficulty level was set to Rickie Weeks on that pitch, sure, but I love watching Bumgarner's delivery over and over again. Pitcher deliveries and testicular accidents are the reasons GIFs exist.
Derek Law pitched a scoreless inning, and Pablo Sandoval thinned a long home run to help the Giants come back. Buster Posey had another two hits, and Sergio Romo enjoyed a clean outing. If you were looking for Happy Fun Facts, this game had them, provided you're willing to ignore the Brewers' homers. Which I certainly am.
If you're looking for grist for the pessimist mill, you probably need a different hobby. Bumgarner's now struck out 22 and walked two in 22⅔ spring innings, and he's been doing it while messing around with a slow curveball. He's the Opening Day starter, and we'll see him again in six loooooong days.
I'm settling into the idea of two aces at the top of the rotation, a dependable non-Zito in the middle, and familiar causes of indigestion at the bottom. If you make peace with it now, you'll be pleasantly surprised with the good things the bottom of the rotation provides throughout the year. Or absolutely crushed if the top of the rotation doesn't live up to expectations.
Nah. Bumgarner's good. So good. Let's toast Madison Bumgarner, impossibly young ace. If you were having trouble remembering why they even bother playing baseball in March, this was a pretty good argument for it.