Madison Bumgarner is a good hitter in general, but he's a fantastic hitter for a pitcher. In fact, he's good enough that for two straight years he's literally won a trophy bat made out of pure silver* in honor of his hitting prowess. This year, he led the majors in pitcher home runs with 5, just like he did last year with 4. He also hit 2 in 2012, though somehow he missed out on the 3 he should have hit in 2013. We were all wondering what went wrong for the Giants that year, and maybe I just figured it out.
*I do not fact check
So, having established that Madison Bumgarner home runs are good, it is important to put all five 2015 Bumgarner home runs in one place, so that you, the McCovey Chronicles reader, can click on them and watch them and enjoy them. I am here for you. I am doing you a kindness. The dingers are presented in order of least best to most best, but they are all the best.
August 16, vs Casey Janssen
Bumgarner's swing looked exactly the same on every homer he hit this year. What he does at the plate is very simple: he looks fastball and he swings as hard as humanly possible at fastball. This strategy doesn't always work, partially because he's a pitcher and partially because he is literally any human being who has ever played baseball and no baseball strategy is 100% foolproof, not even the best one of all time, which is "Be Barry Bonds." But it works very, very often, and it's fun to watch when it does. Like, for example, here.
June 28, vs Christian Bergman
It's always a fun treat when a guy homers off the foul pole. If I were in charge of baseball, hitting the pole would be worth twice as many runs. If you hit the foul pole with the bases loaded, it's worth eight runs. Seems like a useful, fair, and well-thought out plan. I don't see how that would be a problem at all.
August 21, vs Jeff Locke
The best part of this one is watching the Pirates left fielder, Starling Marte, just not move. Doesn't that always make a homer more impressive? It's so obviously a home run that he's like "I don't even need to make a token effort here." There is no chance that the wind will knock the ball down or that he misjudged it. He won't even get criticized by his manager for not trying. Of course that was a home run. Why would you have to take a single step? Moving would be a waste of precious, precious energy. Gotta save that up in case you need it later.
July 25, vs Chris Bassitt
This was an important run in the game, since the Giants won 2-1. This was also Bumgarner's third homer of the year, so pitchers already had a pretty good idea that he could hit a fastball. Chris Bassitt had to throw a fastball at some point, and he thought it would be a good idea to throw it middle-in, presumably because Madison Bumgarner is very good at hitting fastballs thrown there so he'd never see it coming.
Chris Bassitt has not yet mastered practical applications of game theory.
May 21, against Clayton Kershaw
I like to imagine a surly Dodger fan watching this homer and sulking. "But wait!" he then thinks. "I know how to handle this." He goes to Twitter:
Forget the "favorite" instead of like; this is definitely a real screenshot that I took before Twitter RUINED EVERYTHING FOREVER. But then a Giants fan responds:
And it just degenerates from there:
As always, a lot of good points are made in this Twitter debate and both sides' opinions get changed. But what's beyond debate is that Madison Bumgarner homering off of Clayton Kershaw is a joyous experience that the whole family can enjoy. Really, Madison Bumgarner homering off of anyone is pretty great. Now I'm gonna watch all those clips again, because dang, Madison Bumgarner. Dang.