Madison Bumgarner escaped a second-and-third situation with nobody out, getting two strikeouts exactly when he was looking for them. This is when I realized that my brain is incapable of processing Bumgarner-related information without relaying it back to me as a stream of Krukowisms.
Even in a game with national announcers, my brain fills in the gaps. Bumgarner has a couple different things he can do with the ball. He's country strong. He gets in on people's hands, but he'll also get in their kitchens. He has ownage of some hitters. He has serious ownage of others. He often makes hitters return to the dugout, where they will clutch a bench made from the wood of an evergreen, coniferous tree.
And he's pretty danged good.
In July, I'll assume that Bumgarner doesn't give up the homer to Dioner Navarro. In April, country strong doesn't extend that far past 100 pitches. If you're old and shaking your head about the sissies of today, keep it to yourself. It's how pitchers are developed, for better or for worse. (I'll say better.) That big, round number means something to a 23-year-old in April, and Bumgarner left one up. Without that seventh-inning stumble, Bumgarner's outing would have been remarkable. As is, it was … well, I don't know, remarkable minus one. It was the kind of outing that spoils us. Of course Bumgarner can do that. He can do even better.
When I first got deep into the Giants this would have been an outing that would have blown our minds. Did you see what VanLandingham did? Just two walks! Wow, that Mark Leiter is really a stabilizing influence. Et cetera. Yet we're spoiled with Bumgarner, who is already better than any of the young pitchers the Giants developed in the '80s and '90s. If it weren't for Lincecum and Cain, he might have an argument for the best homegrown Giants pitcher since the team moved to San Francisco, depending on how you evaluate John Montefusco's post-ROY career with the Giants.
Bumgarner is 23.
The Cubs took Josh Vitters seven picks before Bumgarner in the first round, by the way. I guess if Alex Rios is better than Tim Lincecum now, Vitters can still catch up. But I'm still amazed that a) Bumgarner exists, and b) that the Giants got him. So many teams had to see something they didn't like, or saw something in another player they liked more. Hard to believe.
There were a lot of players on both teams that had these weird hoodie face-mask-things jutting out from their uniform. I checked with some people back at the home office, and after a long discussion, we came to a conclusion: Nah. That's not going to work, fellas. I get that it's cold, but the hoodies gotta go. Maybe there's another way to stay warm that isn't so offensive to baseball tradition, like a dome over Wrigley Field.
Whatever works, but it looks like the hoodies are going to be rounded up and burned in a trash can with hobos around it warming their hands. At least, they should be.
Right about here, I was ready to pick up a golf club and wail on my cable box:
Scott Hairston was up, and for a split-second, I thought he had hit a three-run homer to put the Cubs ahead. There is nothing in baseball that could make me angrier. Matt Kemp walking up to Buster Posey, slapping him with a white glove, and challenging him to a duel wouldn't make me nearly as irate as Hairston hitting another home run against the Giants. It's become my greatest baseball-related fear.
It was just a fly out. And then in the sixth, with Bumgarner ambling around third base for no particular reason, Hairston threw a ball to florth base, just missing the cutoff wicket between shird and mornth.
Nice throw, ass snake.
Also, thanks for not hitting that ball out of the park. Cable boxes are surprisingly expensive.
If I had one request for the Cubs, it would be for them to stop hitting Buster Posey with baseballs. Yeah, I think that would be the first suggestion. He probably just reeks of success and positive outcomes, and the Cubs can't help it. When they drill him, it's like letting your shopping cart roll into the Maserati that cut you off getting into the parking lot. Oops. Sorry about that. (Not sorry.)
Difference between 2009 Giants and 2013 Giants -- Samardizja would have been scoreless through three innings, but with 30 pitches thrown. He had over 60 thrown today. Of course, that's all speculation. But that feels like the difference, anyway.
All season we're going to keep checking into the Sandoval Fat Meter to see how he's playing, and how that kind of play will affect the attention he's getting for his weight. If he's good, he's built like that and he's fine! If he's bad, he's a compulsive eater who needs shock therapy!
Except I have no idea how to judge this one. He had an RBI single (hey tony gwynn kept hitting after he was big etc), a great pick in the field to start a double play (you know he's quite agile for someone his size he really is I tell you), and a ball off the chest that led to a 5-6-3 force out (that's gonna catch up to him someday I'll tell you what).
But then he made an amazing catch in the ninth, diving into the seats, landing awkwardly, and getting up slowly. It was a Level 1 and a Level 6 on the same play. There's … we weren't prepared for this. So there should probably be a Level 7 for situations like this. Something that's awesome and cringe-worthy at the same time.
Close enough. Careful out there, Pablo. We're all kind of counting on you.
Finally, it's time to start a new post-game feature. One of my pet peeves -- a blood bugaboo, even -- is when managers walk the bases loaded to face anyone but an opposing pitcher. Mike Trout with runners on second and third is preferable than Chris Iannetta with the bases loaded. A first-pitch ball with the bases loaded makes every hitter Harmon Killebrew.
So in the eight inning, Bruce Bochy ordered a walk with the bases loaded and one out. The next hitter hit into a double play. Let's count these up this year:
If Bochy wins the tally for the full season, I'll shut up about this point for the entire 2014 season. It worked on Saturday. It worked quite well indeed.