The big story after the San Francisco Giants’ 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies seemed to be the bullpen in the eyes of many, being that it was their first chance to handle a save situation since Brian Wilson left us for Dr. James Andrews. But today was about Madison Bumgarner before the game started and it was about him during the 6 innings that he pitched, so we’ll start with him.
Bumgarner wasn’t dominant against a Phillies lineup that’s nowhere near as fearsome as it once was, and he hasn’t been mowing down hitters all season. His strikeout-to-walk ratio, 7-to-5, is the epitome of underwhelming. Last year Bumgarner had 7 strikeouts and 8 walks through his first three starts, so maybe he’s making progress anyway.
Oh, what are we haggling about? The guy’s younger than Brandon Belt, he just signed his first gigantic contract and he still survived the Giants’ swiss cheese defense (which is becoming a pattern) to only allow 2 runs, one of them on a Hunter Pence home run. Pence, for those who didn’t watch the game or sit on Twitter all afternoon, hit a huge batting practice home run that according to some hit the Coke Bottle (it didn’t).
“That’s what’s remarkable, really amazing, he’s 22 years old but he does a really good job of keeping his poise,” said Bruce Bochy, who noted that Bumgarner seemed a little more amped up than normal. “He’ll tell you, he was really into the game. At times he was getting a little flustered with himself.”
“I felt like everything was moving kind of fast, faster than normal. I was getting excited and yelling when we were got outs and stuff. I normally don’t do that, I just go about my business. For whatever reason, I don’t know why I was like that, glad it was able to work out,” Bumgarner said.
Yeah, it’s worked out alright. Nice week, kid. For those who’d like to see them say the words from the previous paragraph, here you are, you video-loving people, you.
— Stop the presses: Buster Posey stole a base tonight. It was an odd play. It was Posey’s decision to walk into a lead off second base, only he didn’t get as good a lead as he probably would’ve hoped. On the way to third base he took a look at Ruiz, and made a head first slide that somehow avoided Placido Polanco’s tag even though the throw beat him by plenty. Here’s Posey talking about the steal, his first since April 20, 2011. Check out Posey’s reaction to Chris Haft’s reaction to Janie McCauley’s first question. Sounds confusing, but it’s worth a look.
— So much for Posey not seeing the ball well. 6 singles in his last two games, but he still isn’t satisfied. “I feel like I have two strikes every at-bat right now,” Posey said. “It’s just one of those things where I’m up there, just battling.”
— Santiago Casilla was solid in his first save attempt of the season. Actually, he was better than solid, only allowing a bloop single to Juan Pierre. The entire bullpen was fantastic, really — 3 near perfect innings for Casilla, Sergio Romo and Clay Hensley, who came in with Pierre on first and struck out Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins.
— Casilla looked exactly like he did last year when Wilson was injured. Good sign.
— Another good sign: Angel Pagan’s hitting triples with regularity.
— Yet another good sign: Nate Schierholtz has hit his way into the lineup, going 3-for-3 with his first walk of the season on Tuesday night.
— A bad sign: Brandon Crawford, who made a Web Gem-tastic play to end the game on a dive to his left and throw to nail Victorino, keeps having trouble with the part of the game that was supposed to be a given: defense. He committed one error, came close on two other plays he didn’t convert and seemed hesitant to put his injured thumb in harm’s way when he went after Posey’s throw as Pierre stole second base. Something to keep an eye on, especially since he’s still the best part of the Giants’ middle infield. Ryan Theriot plays on Wednesday. Yay.
— Another bad sign: Aubrey Huff and Crawford left 13 men on base combined. Huff did come up with a single, but everything about his offensive approach (and results) looks the same as last year.
— Nowhere near as many seagulls on Tuesday night. Maybe the birds actually read Peter Hartlaub’s open letter.
— I’ve been sitting in the front row of the press box this season instead of the second row, and I’m pretty convinced Pagan’s trying to kill me. One of his foul balls came within two feet of me on Sunday, and on Tuesday night he sent one back off the wall below me about four feet from my computer. I saw the angle of the ball off his bat and knew it was heading to the left of me however, so this time I didn’t flinch. “I’m so tough,” said the blogger who’s never been in a real fight in his life.
— They have new seats this year in the pressbox, but the popcorn maker has thus far gone unused. I know, I know, let’s cry tears for the poor slob who can’t eat free food. Could be my fault that the popcorn machine has been dormant, I probably made too much of a mess last September.