I don't know if there's a pitching matchup I want to see more than Felix Hernandez vs. Madison Bumgarner. It could be Kershaw, but we've seen that over and over, and dude's in kind of a bad place right now. Maybe Chris Sale? But he's still an unknown compared to Hernandez, a blip on the geological scale. Cycle through the list of pitchers ... Wainwright, Scherzer, Price ... I really think that Bumgarner/Hernandez is the most watchable pitching matchup for a Giants fan right now.
Wait. No. That's not right. Kevin Correia vs. Madison Bumgarner. That's a better matchup. Oh, no, Joe Blanton vs. Madison Bumgarner. Maybe that iffy knuckleballer the Dodgers had a couple years ago vs. Madison Bumgarner. Actually, I can think of a lot of better matchups right now. And, gee, I'm looking at this, and it's almost like Felix Hernandez is indisputably the most annoying matchup possible. Yeah, wait, this was a terrible matchup. That guy is good.
It was a Tip Your Cap Game. Everybody, tip your cap. You, in the back, tip your damned cap. Tip your cap, everyone.
Yes. That's what an ace-off looks like when one pitcher doesn't have a centerfielder with his elbows covered in taffy and sticking to his ankles.
OH COME ON. ELBOWS AND ARMS GO LIKE THIS \_________________.
That's okay. At least he's a good fielder normally.
Angel Pagan Defensive Runs Saved Ranks among 35 CF with most innings 2011-32nd 2012-24th 2013-30th 2014-26th 2015-24th— Mark Simon (@msimonespn) June 18, 2015
That's okay. At least he's hitting well.
That's okay. At least he's buried at the bottom of the order.
That's okay, at least he was excellent in 2012 for a Giants team that really needed him.
Just question if he's the best centerfielder on the team.
Question that, like, a lot. Especially after that short-arm play might have cost the Giants the game.
But! We return to the ace-off. Both pitchers were marvelous, just the best. Both of them pitched about as well as they can, and the game was crisp, clean, and watchable, for the most part. Good hitters swung at bad pitches, which is the point in an ace-off like this. Madison Bumgarner was a marvel, getting fine hitters like Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager on 1-2-3 welps that showcased him well.
When Bumgarner got into the fifth with a perfect game, then blew it on an error, his command/control/stuff was nasty enough to make every single danged person watching the game think, "Ooooohhhh, that cost him the perfect game", as if there weren't at least 14 more batters coming up with a chance to ruin it. Then he made a couple mistakes, and the fielders weren't much help, and if it makes you feel better, the ball that Pagan should have caught probably would have been a homer in a few ballparks.
The ideal matchup really is Bumgarner vs. Hernandez. The difference is that we want to watch our guy beat their guy because of a dumb play. It absolutely is a treat to watch Hernandez pitch, even as he makes our Mudville nine look incredibly dippy. Hits his spots, he does, with the mitt rarely moving. This isn't a time to say, dang it, (player) should have hit that baseball down the middle with the bases loaded. This is a time to say, dang it, there was an ace-off, and everyone pitched about as well as they could, and one dumb play ruined everything.
Baseball is a dumb sport and you're all dumb for reading this.
Now that we have time to reflect, that play in the fifth wasn't a hit. We were thinking "PERFECT GAME" because it was Madison Bumgarner with his no-hit stuff, and it was discouraging to end the perfect game on that, but it wasn't a hit.
"Oh, just a nice grounder. Barely have to move."
"AAAIIIIIGGGGHHHH, MY FACE, MY BEAUTIFUL, MARKETABLE FACE."
That was the weirdest damned hop I remember seeing this year, for any team in any game. That was one of the very best fielders in the world looking like the ball shot millipedes out of it when he was getting ready to grab it. Considering the fielder and the reaction, both: hit. All the way. I'm eternally grateful that this is a sidebar to the game story and not the hot take that was required.
Safeco Field is weird. I'm used to balls dying in right-center at AT&T Park, but the balls die in left field at Safeco, too. And yet the park factors are roughly equivalent in the two parks? I don't know, man. Feels like that same kind of Coors hangover that happens with the Rockies happens in reverse when the Mariners go on the road, screwing up the park factors. I don't even know what that means, but think about it. Think about it. That park is weird.
The hardest-hit balls in the ballgame, for either team, came off the bat of Willie Bloomquist. They were both outs.