And on the seventh day, Madison Bumgarner stepped onto the field, looked at the the assembly of purple shirts and exclaimed, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS." He struck them down with his mighty cutter. He tamped down the burial dirt with powerful swings of his lumber. He... had trouble with Nolan Arenado... but, mainly, he was mighty, so mighty that no cracks would appear to let even a a sliver of light shine through.
When he struck down the 1,000th opponent of his rule, he did not seek the affection of an adoring audience. It was no sign of humility, it was a declaration of focus. He would not allow sentiment to stand in the way of dominance. And on this day, three years to the very day of his first shutout, he made another mark upon history.
Bumgarner's fastball and slutter were on point today, but so was his pitching face. Which of today's big moments was The Most Madison?
After career strikeout 1,000?
When Bruce Bochy came to pull him from the game in the eighth inning?
MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE. I HAVE AN URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT.
Matt Duffy is pretty cool.
He's cool because he has eased the transition from two different third baseman in approximately ten months and he has given the Giants some power they've clearly lost with the recent injuries and negative regressions. I'm saying he's cool rather than good because good appears to be a declaration that rankles the Baseball hivemind, and I am not in any way qualified to make such judgments about young players. And since I haven't yet figured out what TV show or movie scene/character he reminds me of just yet, I must defer to experts regarding his worth.
Matt Goldman over at Beyond the Box Score published an article this morning that said of Duffy,
His ascension to becoming a legitimate everyday third baseman mirrors that of another player, one with whom he shares a first name: Matt Carpenter.
... that's a big comparison to make, given the circumstances. Matt Duffy didn't hit a home run in college. He never played at the AAA level. He has 301 plate appearances at the Major League level. He looks like a substitute gym teacher. And yet...
Matt Duffy has a 140 wRC+, 4th-best among NL 3B with at least 150 PA. Better than: Nolan Arenado, Matt Carpenter and Kris Bryant— Beyond the Box Score (@BtBScore) June 28, 2015
It's another situation where the Giants deserve a bit more credit than The Industry gives them for their ability to get talent out of their farm system. Sample size mirages or no, the recent run of success has helped the team win games, win championships, and generally provide them with depth when the conventional wisdom is that they are essentially Baseball's Amish. All evidence points to this not being their Rumspringa, though.
And now I'm picturing Matt Duffy dressed as an Amishperson.
Buster Posey has to play more often than Madison Bumgarner, but he has similarly taken it upon himself to carry the team as needed. His 26 RBI this month are a career high for a month (and June isn't over!) and his bat and approach look like the player you expect. One of the keys to being a star in the game is reliability. Buster Posey has been reliable since 2010. And there's absolutely no way all these hits with 2 outs and runners in scoring position will stop. Nope. No way. Never.
The last time the Giants had an infield where everybody had at least 15 home runs was 2002. The Giants are going to need an infield where every position has at least 15 home runs because you have to assume that Nori Aoki, the cremains of Angel Pagan, and an injury-hindered Hunter Pence are not going to provide much power the rest of the way. Right now, the main guys are on pace for at least 15 and the broadcasters have made a point of joking about a competition between Joe Panik and Matt Duffy and then today that Brandon Crawford probably wants to have more than both of those guys, too. Of course, Brandon Belt is both expected to and expects to have more than any of them, maybe all of them combined.
It's fun to watch and nice to see. Matt Duffy and Joe Panik and maybe even Brandon Crawford are still expected by the experts to implode and suck in all life with them, and that might still happen, but in the meantime, really, let's just enjoy what we've got.
And for that matter, the Rockies should definitely enjoy what they've got. Nolan Arenado is having a helluva season. His ceiling appears to be "What Everybody Thought Evan Longoria Would Be". He was not stymied much by Giants' pitching this series. Needed to point him out because he was nothing short of impressive.
Matt Duffy nearly hit for the cycle. At worst, he should've had a 4-hit day, but the first base ump declared that a ball that had CLEARLY hit Rosario's glove in fair territory was actually a foul ball. The replay officials in New York saw two angles of the same play and agreed with the call on the field. Both calls were terrible. But they were not as bad as those camera angles.
I wrote this the other night, that if this had been a playoff game then there would've been better angles available to the replay officials. It's pretty absurd how far away and out of focus some of these angles down the line are and drifting into absurd that the camera angles available for the first base bag are so limited, given the sheer number of times a play happens at first base.
I suspect the in-stadium camera issue is up to the individual club's regional sports coverage, that they provide the additional viewing angles. That makes the most sense, as Baseball gives teams a lot of autonomy, specifically as it relates to televised coverage. If true (please do correct me and excoriate me in the comments), then it's even more surprising that CSN Bay Area, a media company in the cradle of media technology, has insufficient video coverage for its likely most-prized revenue stream.
On the post game rap, the fellas were annoyed that they didn't yet know the names of the replay officials in New York. I was listening to the Mets' broadcast the other night and they had the names of the replay officials for that game. Their main guy, Gary Cohen, said all they did was ask for the names and they were provided as a courtesy. So, that particular issue for broadcasters seems easier to remedy. But the other problem -- the main problem -- of limited camera angels is EVEN EASIER to solve.
Even if the call had been overturned, the umpire would've likely declared that Duffy hit a double and, hence, no cycle (which would've been the first since 2011 when P**** S******* hit for the cycle in Colorado). The evidence that existed -- the distant video image -- showed pretty clearly that Rosario's glove moved, but there was enough leeway to believe that possible he was just squeezing the glove shut thinking he was going to catch the ball and no 10000% CLEAR image of the ball striking the glove and, so, the replay officials let themselves off the hook by declaring that there was no definitive evidence.
Luckily, the cameras were able to capture definitive evidence of Madison Bumgarner, Matt Duffy, Buster Posey, and the rest of the farm talent taking their second home series in a month. It was a clear, beautiful sight to behold.