There’s not much to say that isn’t said in the headline. Honestly, I could just say the headline again here in the body of the article and I think that would suffice for a recap.
Here, let’s try it.
Giants honor franchise legend Madison Bumgarner by letting him dominate them.
Yeah, that works pretty well. The problem is it doesn’t provide all the pertinent details, like full team names and the score, which means if you belong to that funny subsection of sports fans that is reading recaps despite not knowing who the team is playing, and whether this is baseball’s Giants or football’s Giants, you’ll be lost.
Let’s workshop it.
Well, I think we can all be honest. That’s kind of boring, though it does get the point across.
I think we need something mildly more juicy. Let’s go again.
Listless San Francisco Giants honor franchise legend Madison Bumgarner by letting him (as well as a debuting reliever) dominate them, as Arizona Diamondbacks win 3-1 in a game featuring replay confusion, the rarest of innings, and a catcher’s balk.
Now we’re getting somewhere, but to be honest, I’m not sure how well that would fit in the headline. It would take up a lot of space. Really gunk up the ol’ McCovey Cove Chronicles front page.
So I guess let’s just talk about the game.
The Giants faced Bumgarner — Bumgarner who spent 12 years in the organization, was selected as an All-Star four times, played a key role on all three World Series teams, hit 19 home runs, and had one of the greatest postseason performances in MLB history while wearing the orange and black — for just the second time since he joined the DBacks.
The first outing, which took place in an empty Oracle Park during the 2020 season, went well for the Giants. The second outing, which took place in a half-empty Chase Field on Tuesday night, went well for Bumgarner.
It would be unfair to the player that MadBum once was to call the performance vintage. Just nine of his 99 pitches resulted in whiffs, and he struck out only four of the 27 batters he faced. But the results were vintage, even if the journey to them was new and, frankly, a tad boring. Bumgarner gave up just 6 hits, 1 walk, and 1 earned run in 7 innings, earning his first win against his old team.
I’m still a tiny bit mad that Buster Posey wasn’t in the lineup, but oh well.
Bumgarner on facing the Giants without Posey, Crawford, etc.: “It’s a strange feeling regardless of if they’re in the lineup or not, just the uniform, the team, the organization. It’s a strange feeling.”— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 4, 2021
Johnny Cueto was the exact opposite. The route to the end goal was a bit more jubilant, as he drew 18 swings and misses on his 100 pitches, and struck out seven of the 25 batters he faced. But he also only made it through the fifth inning, and allowed 6 hits, 4 walks, 3 runs, and 2 earned runs.
The unearned run was the result of catcher Curt Casali, who had the audacity to use his baseball equipment to play baseball. This is, apparently, affectionately known as a “catcher balk” which ... I’ve learned something new today.
See something new every day. A balk on the catcher: pic.twitter.com/HRBMXKvnkX— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 4, 2021
In fairness, “catcher balk” is not the actual term. For that, we turn to Andrew Baggarly.
Curt Casali violated Rule 5.06 (b)(3)(E) by trapping a pitched ball with his detached mask. Runners were correctly awarded one base. The official scorer called it a "catcher's balk" but that's not accurate. Nor is "catcher's interference." It's a violation of detached equipment.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) August 4, 2021
And for reasons why we should know this obscure rule, we turn to the lovable Kuiper crew.
I remember my dad explaining Rule 5.06(B)(3) to me as a kid during A League of Their Own when she catches the ball in her hat.— cole kuiper (@cmkuiper) August 4, 2021
It’s a silly rule, but rules are rules and players know the rules.
Curt Casali said the error with his face mask was stupid, and very much unintentional. If he'd managed to throw his mask away as he usually does, it wouldn't have happened. He can't really explain it, just a mistake, he knows it cost them a run.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 4, 2021
Casali made up for the mistake by being one of the only Giants to do anything offensively, when he lifted a solo homer off of Bumgarner for the team’s only run.
Bumgarner gives up a DEEP home run to Casali pic.twitter.com/FcursEZ4dm— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) August 4, 2021
Pretty swings are pretty.
That at-bat was part of a very bizarre inning. Casali homered on the first pitch of the at-bat. Austin Slater would later double, on the first pitch of the at-bat. Before, in between, and after them, three hitters would be retired, on the first pitch of the at bat.
Five batters, five pitches, all in the fifth inning.
The Giants lost to the Diamondbacks for just the second time in 12 meetings this season. But it’s not all bad: the Los Angeles Dodgers got shut out by the Houston Astros, keeping the Giants 3.5 game lead in the NL West in tact.