The Giants snapped a four-game losing streak in most convincing fashion. If this wasn’t Madison Bumgarner’s best start of the season, it was his best overall game. He threw seven-innings of one-hit, shutout baseball and reached base three times. Trevor Gott and Will Smith were untouchable, and the offense looked alive against the toughest starter they’ve seen in August. A loss tonight would have been extraordinarily demoralizing. It would have been their first five-game losing streak since May, which would have given further support that they’ve turned back into pumpkins. Moreover, their embarrassment would have been broadcast for tens of thousands on YouTube.
This was my first experience with baseball on YouTube, and I was not aware that chat was “invite-only” mode. What this means is that only a select Ivory Tower of content creators could engage in The Discourse. If you weren’t invited by MLB’s official YouTube account, you couldn’t participate in the chat.
This is a travesty. When the games were on Facebook last year, anyone with an account was welcome to freely exchange their ideas. But to share your thoughts with the YouTube audience, you need at least 100,000 subscribers like GiraffeNeckMarc or ya boi Mighty Goat. YouTube is silencing the proletariat and not only does that suppress the flow of ideas, but it means that I couldn’t take screenshots of dummies.
Instead of dunking on boomers trying to figure out how to hide the chat, I had to watch a perfectly great vintage Madbum outing. This was supposed to be the marquee pitcher’s duel of the series. Aaron Nola vs. Madison Bumgarner is the sort of match-up that I would circle on my calendar before teams got wise to the times-through-the-order penalty and stocked their bullpens with fire-breathing daemons.
Madison Bumgarner did his part. Bumgarner retired the first ten batters he faced before issuing a walk to Rhys Hoskins, and he didn’t surrender a hit until the sixth inning. He kept the no-hitter alive long enough that the game got the little “No-hitter” alert on the At Bat app, and for imaginations to run wild.
After this last week, the “Should of traded Bum LOL” crowd has gotten real cocky on Twitter. Ignoring that the Giants would have traded Bumgarner if they got a good offer, it would be beautiful for Bumgarner to throw a no-hitter in a Giants uniform a week after the deadline. That alone would make the Giants decision to hang onto him worth it.
Tim Lincecum threw two no-hitters and Matt Cain threw a perfect game, but Bumgarner has been the best of the three. Bumgarner has also been in the organization to see Jonathan Sánchez throw one and he was in the dugout when Chris Heston threw one. He’s had to sit idly by while lesser pitchers have been mobbed and congratulated by his teammates.
I suppose Bumgarner has the two complete-game shutouts in Wild Card games plus another in a World Series. Oh, and the five-inning save in Game 7 of the same World Series. But when is Bumgarner going to get his moment in the spotlight, huh?
He didn’t even get a shot at the complete-game shutout. Bruce Bochy took him out after seven innings and 85 pitches. Still, this was as good as Bumgarner gets. There’s no catchy name for a seven-inning, one-hit outing, but that doesn’t diminish his excellence.
A vintage Bumgarner outing isn’t complete without some feats of strength at the plate, and the Phillies couldn’t get Bumgarner out. In his first plate appearance, Bumgarner worked the count full in a nine-pitch battle. He fouled away two curveballs on the edge of the zone and another over the plate. On the ninth pitch, Nola tried to sneak a fastball by him, but Bumgarner ripped it into left field. That paved the way for a three-run inning that was capped off by a combination double/TOOTBLAN courtesy of Mike Yastrzemski.
Bumgarner also worked two walks which doubles his walk total from 2018. We’ve seen Bumgarner has a one-dimensional power hitter, but perhaps this shows that he’s will to take a walk. He’s evolving as a hitter before our eyes.
The non-Bumgarner hitters in the lineup didn’t look bad either. Evan Longoria had two hits, Buster Posey knocked a double off the right field wall, and Brandon Crawford reached base twice. In his first
major league* San Francisco Giants plate appearance, Joey Rickard worked a nice at bat and drew a walk. The only guy in the starting lineup who didn’t get a hit was Stephen Vogt, but he gets a pass for being the third-best hitter on the team.
Then there was Mike Yastrzemski who I already mentioned hit a double. He also added a no-doubt solo shot in the seventh.
My favorite part about this homer is that Bryce Harper didn’t even move. It’s rare enough to get a ball into that part of the yard. It’s downright unheard of that an outfielder just gives up on it. Plenty of would-be homers have died in right-center because the pelagic winds knocked it down or the ball hit a seagull. But Harper knew there was no chance that was coming back.
The anti-Belt crowd has been emboldened lately. After each of Bumgarner’s walks, Belt made two quick outs on balls that weren’t hit particularly hard. He didn’t look good in the latter part of the game, but you know what? Brandon Belt still had the game-winning hit. Cram it, haters.