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Giants @ Dodger, 6/20

Bumgarner (3-6. 3.97 FIP) vs. Urías (3-2, 4.07 FIP)

Exterior view Dodger Stadium Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

This is not the most important start of Madison Bumgarner’s career, but it’s the most important start of the Farhan Zaidi era. Out there, teams have their own internal systems for interpreting and extrapolating that public-facing analytics information and with their in-person scouting reports it’s reasonable to assume that the 29 other teams have their own valuation(s) of Bumgarner.

That means it might not matter much what happens in LA tonight. They might already know just how Madison Bumgarner should fare against the Dodgers’ lineup, a lineup that looks like the toughest he’s ever faced:

CF — Kiké Hernández
3B — Justin Turner
1B — David Freese
2B — Max Muncy
SS — Chris Taylor
LF — Kyle Garlick
RF — Alex Verdugo
C — Austin Barnes
SP — Julio Urías

On the other hand...

“I’m not convinced he’s going anywhere,” [Mike] Krukow said. “I’m really not. We’ve been so dramatic about ‘oh it’s his last start against the Dodgers at home’ I don’t believe any of that. I really don’t, I think he’s going to be here.”

Krukow looked at the future for his reasoning on believing Bumgarner could be staying put.

“The Giants know they have Johnny Cueto coming back. I do think they feel he [Bumgarner] does have a lot left.”

Hope? Boy... I don’t know. Seems like a tall order.

The Giants have had this 1,000-yard stare for nearly three years now:

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

A healthy Bumgarner and Cueto at the top of the rotation doesn’t really fix anything, especially if the bullpen is full of retreads, castoffs, and fill-ins following the upcoming Smith-Watson-Dyson purge. I get Mike Krukow saying this, but it doesn’t seem to wholly capture the reality of the situation, both in terms of the industry and the Giants’ place in it.

But anyway, back to that lineup. Seriously... that lineup against Bumgarner — even though batter-pitcher matchup data is mostly useless — those top three batters are a combined 66-for-133 (.496). Muncy, of course, hit a famous home run against Bumgarner in their last encounter, but otherwise, he’s a career 1-for-8. The rest of the lineup is a combined 4-for-39 (.103) — and yet!

As a team, the Dodgers are .260/.343/.449 (.791 OPS) against left-handed pitching, a 110 sOPS+ (that’s the split OPS relative to the rest of the league) in that split. Remarkably, their left-handed hitters are better against left-handed pitching (136 sOPS+) than their right-handed hitters (94 sOPS+). Also, the Dodgers are 50-25. They’re literally the best.

Not the best? The Giants. Here is their lineup for tonight:

2B — Joe Panik
RF — Tyler Austin
C — Buster Posey
1B — Brandon Belt
3B — Evan Longoria
CF — Kevin Pillar
SS — Brandon Crawford
LF — Mike Yastrzemski
SP — Madison Bumgarner

Let’s look at those same three splits for the Giants against left-handed pitching:

Team (left & right) vs. LHP: .221/.287/.335 (.623 OPS) | 67 sOPS+
RHB vs. LHP: .205/.269/.333 (.602) | 59 sOPS+
LHB vs. LHP: .240/.310/.338 (.648) | 80 sOPS+

So, the Giants are as good as the Dodgers are in this one category: they have an odd reverse split when it comes to left-handed pitching. You heard it here first: the Giants are as good as the Dodgers.