Madison Bumgarner spent the entire offseason getting fake traded.
And then later: “Well, he doesn’t want to go to the Phillies.”
Then the games started. And during his poor April and resurgent next few months, the fake trading continued, relentless as ever. “Why not the Twins? They’re not on his list. And the A’s could use a pitcher. Wouldn’t that be interesting? He wouldn’t even have to hire movers. Makes you think!”
As we crept towards the end of June, and certainly into July, the chatter became, “In what could be Bumgarner’s final start against the Dodgers at Oracle Park...”
Then: “In what could be Bumgarner’s final home start as a Giant...”
And finally: “In what could be Bumgarner’s final start as a Giant...”
But the Giants started winning. And so this start, which a month ago you could have circled as Definitely Bumgarner’s Last Start For The Giants, is now probably just another start. So it was appropriate that what he delivered was essentially just another start.
Bumgarner went 7 innings and gave up 4 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 6, and gave up a booming three-run third inning homer to Hunter Renfroe, without which his day would have looked spectacular. One he got that out of the way, he shut the Padres down the rest of the way, allowing just one hit over his final four innings. Those innings were vintage Bumgarner.
Bruce Bochy said today’s performance was “vintage” Madison Bumgarner.— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) June 30, 2019
Bumgarner was then asked if it felt like a vintage outing for him. He said he doesn’t like the word vintage because it makes him sound old: “You can call me that when I’m 40.”
Oh, uh, sorry, Madison. They were...Classic Bumgarner.
With Bumgarner’s start being good enough for the Giants to carry a lead into the ninth, it was his fellow trade chip, Will Smith, who came in to close it out, and was also just good enough. Smith coughed up a two-run homer to Wil Myers, making the game much more tense than it needed to be, but still managed to strike out Luis Urias earn his 26th save.
This was also Bruce Bochy’s final game managing in San Diego, where he spent 12 years as skipper, making the playoffs four times and winning one pennant along the way. While it didn’t necessitate the bullpen strategizing that Friday’s extra innings game did, Sunday’s matinee did allow him some lineup machinations that ended up working out exactly like he had to have hoped before the game.
“It has not been a series where the Giants did a lot of hitting,” Duane Kuiper said at the outset of the game, and it’s not like the hitters were on fire in the last homestand either. So out were Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval and in were Tyler Austin and Zach Green; with a lefty opening for the Padres, out were Joe Panik and Alex Dickerson and in were Donovan Solano and Austin Slater.
And it was Green who scored the first Giants run after reaching base in the second inning on a walk (he and Brandon Crawford would eventually score on a Mike Yastrzemski double), Solano who extended that second inning rally with a walk of his own, and Slater who singled to lead off the third, in a rally that was eventually killed by Green grounding into a double play.
Austin was also the guy who struck out to end the second inning and Green grounded into another double play before the game was over. They can’t all fit the narrative!
But after the Padres removed their opener, lefty Adrian Morejon, in the 2nd, they eventually brought in righty Luis Perdomo in the 4th, so some of the Giants regulars came back, which was apparently the plan all along.
Giants knew Morejon was an opener so Bochy went around this morning telling his lefties to be ready early. Sandoval hit for Austin, Dickerson will hit for Slater.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) July 28, 2019
The plan worked. With Solano on first after scoring Yastrzemski on a single, Sandoval and Dickerson both singled, scoring Solano and tying the game. Two innings later, Yastrzemski again scored on a Solano single, giving the team a one run lead. In the ninth, some other guys got in on the action, as Dickerson and Posey both doubled, and Brandon Crawford singled to extend the Giants lead by two runs.
As much as Bumgarner is the story of the game, the stars were Yaz and Solano, who each reached base four times, with Solano walking twice and singling twice, and Yastrzemski singling twice and doubling twice. Yastrzemski scored two runs, drove in two others, and also made a possibly homer-saving catch at the wall in the sixth inning.
Yo: Ya no me voy a encariñar con jugadores de béisbol— (@symphonywoman) July 28, 2019
Yes, that is the only video I can find of the catch, and no, I will not change it if I see another one.
The Giants, as a team, pounded out 16 hits. Dickerson and Crawford each had two, and Posey had three on the day. Bochy, watching from the dugout, had to be thrilled that his final game in San Diego went according to plan.
Also, the Blue Jays’ return for a year and a half of Marcus Stroman was pretty underwhelming, so no way in hell should the Giants trade anyone. They’re 18-5 in July. Time to buy!