After being unhittable for two starts, Madison Bumgarner was hittable. Sort of. He was also unhittable again. Sort of. I'm going to pretend to know what the Marlins were thinking, which is going to lead to awful analysis. You're okay with that. It was an awful game.
Start with the unhittable. Bumgarner struck out 10 batters in five innings. He made Giancarlo Stanton look foolish. With two outs and runners in scoring position, Stanton swung at a pitch like Sam Beckett leapt into his body right before it was thrown. Bumgarner disassembled other hitters throughout the game, looking like the pitcher we're used to.
The hittable parts came when Bumgarner caught too much of the plate, which led to good swings every danged time, which led to hard contact some of the time. This is where the awful analysis comes in: It was as if the Marlins' plan was to wait, wait, wait for the fastball in the middle of the strike zone because they know he's usually around the plate. When that plan didn't work, Marlins hitters looked like they were wearing their batting helmets backward and covering their eyes. When it did work, well, there were dingers and doubles.
Or maybe Bumgarner pitched poorly. After giving up a long, long home run to Marcell Ozuna (on a bad fastball that followed a bad slider), Bumgarner walked J.T. Realmuto, though it's possible that he thought Realmuto was just Joe Mauer in a wig because life would be more interesting if players could just switch teams for a game here and there throughout the season and use their fake sex-motel name to get some extra at-bats. It was probably just a rookie catcher, though, and Bumgarner's command wasn't fine enough to keep him off the bases. His command wasn't fine in all the wrong spots, then.
I don't know.
Last night was better on several fronts.
The Giants haven't scored seven runs in a game this season. "Well, sure," you say. "I wouldn't expect this lineup to score runs in bulk like that." Still, not once? Not one bad pitcher, not one dinger-happy game? Doesn't that seem unusual to you?
It seemed unusual to me, so I went to the stat cave. It turns out this might be the longest stretch without a seven-run game in franchise history.
It turns out this might be the longest stretch without a seven-run game in franchise history.
It's at least the longest stretch since 1914. It's certainly the longest stretch since the Giants moved to San Francisco.
The last time the Giants came close to a stretch this long was last year, when they went 26 games without scoring seven runs or more. That was during that miserable June meltdown that ruined their postseason hopes, give or take. The Giants were 7-19 during that stretch last year. They're just a game under .500 this year, and they're doing it despite being outscored by a bunch for the season.
The odd year wants to change, man. The Giants just aren't letting it.
David Phelps is such a perfect random pitcher to shut the Giants down randomly. Impromptu Giants-killers don't have a type -- it's not as simple as whittling the options down to "soft-tossing lefties" or "low-strikeout righties in the middle of a bad season." They have an aura. You can't touch what makes them so likely to murder the Giants, you just know they are. Especially after the fact. Which seems like it's ex post facto analysis, but now you're just putting random Latin words together.
No, you can just tell these guys. Let's all remember the Ballad of Brandon Backe, a yearly tradition.
In fact, I've compiled a list of future annoying losses. Check them off with me, will you?
- Chase Anderson
- Nick Tepesch
- Brett Oberholtzer
- Aaron Harang
- Roenis Elias
A lot of these will come through the magic of interleague play. Is that a part of the calculus to find the most annoying pitcher liable to shut the Giants down? Could be. Needs more investigation.
Mat Latos pitches tomorrow. Say, that reminds me of a GIF from 2012.
At least we got to think of that GIF.