Madison Bumgarner is one of the few Giants worth tuning in to watch right now. Sam Coonrod and Mike Yastrzemski are worth it just because they’re so new haven’t yet proven themselves nincompoops, but that’s about it. Reyes Moronta and Will Smith are actually good and fun. Joe Panik has been hot, and Pablo Sandoval is still slugging over .600 somehow, but I wouldn’t tune in to watch Moronta or Smith pitching without a lead just because they need innings or to watch Panik or Sandoval come down off their hot streaks.
Bumgarner, though, has a few things working for him in terms of watchability. For one, he’s having his best season in years as long as you don’t care about the inflated ERA. He’s striking out over a batter per inning, and he’s walking fewer than two batters per nine. That’s his best strikeout-to-walk ratio since 2015, arguably his best overall season.
His velocity is back up after it took a nosedive the last two seasons. That’s allowed him to rely on the fastball and the cutter rather than the curve, and that’s good news because as it turns out, his curveball isn’t very good. His FIP doesn’t look as good because of the home runs (10 in 12 starts), but I’d expect that to come down.
The second reason he’s so watchable right now is that his days in a Giants uniform are numbered, right? They’ve gotta be. Forget starting Connor Joe and Michael Reed on Opening Day or bringing back Derek Holland or signing Yangervis Solarte instead of Derek Dietrich, if the Giants don’t trade Bumgarner, that’ll be the biggest screw up this season.
It’s not even about what the Giants can get back in return. If the Giants were even just a smidge better, I’d want them to hang on to Bumgarner, Bumgarner might be good or even great again and he needs to be set free (to carry the Twins and mostly Willians Astudillo to a World Series Championship.)
Not that it won’t be sad to see him go. He’s one of the last holdouts from the Golden Age of Giants baseball. He single-handedly carried the Giants to a title in 2014. His peak wasn’t as high, but he’s surpassed both Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain in fWAR. But if you love someone, you have to let them go. Nothing gold can stay, Ponyboy.
So, savor every start that Bumgarner makes. Even if it forces you to watch a Marlins game. Savor every grunt he makes as he uhnns the ball home, every time he looks in at the umpire on a called ball six inches off the plate, every time he stares at a home run even though he would yell at any hitter who did the same thing.
Starts like tonight’s will be increasingly rare once Bumgarner leaves our lives, whenever that may be. The Giants haven’t had a pitcher not named Madison Bumgarner throw six innings with two runs or fewer allowed since Drew Pomeranz did it on April 24.
Bumgarner left tonight after giving up a groundball single to leadoff the seventh inning. Bumgarner had only thrown 81 pitches. Even before Mark Melancon allowed Bum’s runner at first to score, I would have liked to see Bumgarner get a real chance to finish the inning. I know he was facing the order a third time through and Bumgarner wasn’t even especially dominant tonight (just four strikeouts and six swinging strikes), but it might be some time before a Giants starter completes seven innings.
The Giants are now on a seven-game losing streak. They’ve been outscored 63-19, and the Marlins have held them to two runs in two games. They have to win tomorrow to avoid getting swept by one of the only teams that is somehow worse than them.
If you think the Giants’ offense is bad consider that Starlin Castro’s triple in the eighth was the first triple by a Marlin this year, and they play in a park with a big outfield. They should have at least a few by now. No team in baseball history has ever made it to June without hitting at least one, and this season started early.
So the #Marlins are all alone without a triple. No team in baseball history has gone into June without a triple.— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) May 29, 2019
All the Giants offense has been able to muster the last two days have been a pair of solo home runs and a few runs scored in the ninth inning. The offense has been so feckless that even the camera person was stunned by Brandon Belt’s homer.
This brings Belt up to 8 homers on the year. As one of the two guys on the team that’s on pace for 20 homers, this is a welcome development.
#ForeverGiant (and I use that unironically for once) Sergio Romo came in to get the save against the Giants tonight, and they made him work for it. Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval were both blessed by the BABIPdook. Belt brought in a run with a fielder’s choice. Romo had to work through four straight batters that represented the tying or go-ahead run.
That inning was a real Sophie’s Choice of innings. If the Giants could come back, yay, the Giants win! But Sergio Romo would be upset. But if Sergio Romo got the save, then the Giants lose. Either way, some of my favorite baseball boys are going to have a bad time.
When Romo got Brandon Crawford to a 3-0 count, the Marlins Park crowd rained boos down upon poor Romo. If you could listen to that and feel nothing, then you have no heart. That was the loudest the crowd got at any time, and it was to boo Sergio Romo. Ingrates. They don’t deserve Romo.