Both Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey grew up rooting for the Atlanta Braves, but Giants fans will let that slide for many reasons. It’s pretty easy to forgive and forget when their stat lines against Atlanta look like this in 2013:
- Bumgarner (two starts): 14 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 22 SO, 0.64 ERA, 0.64 WHIP
- Posey (five games): 23 PA, 8 H, 5 2B, 1 HR, 3 BB, 2 SO, 6 R, 6 RBI, .400/.478/.800
The Giants will need both players to help carry the club with so many key cogs missing, although San Francisco didn’t look like a two-man team on Friday as they beat the Braves by a score of 6-0. Gregor Blanco led off the game with a booming home run that measured at 421 feet, and was one of four Giants to collect two hits. The others were Hunter Pence, Brandon Crawford and Joaquin Arias (who are hitting .299, .294 and .286, respectively). Posey had three hits — doubles that were eventually fielded by each Braves outfielder, all pretty enough to cause those who fetishize the fundamentals of hitting to drool all over their sanitary socks. God, just look at this:
Right-handed hitters rarely get their due in this department, but what a gorgeous swing. I think his bat was in the zone for 16 seconds. I also never took physics.
Are we entering another Summer of Buster? More than one hit in six of his last 10 games, including five of his last six. There was an 0-for-4 stuck in the middle of that six-game stretch, which I guess was either a reminder Posey is still human or a signal that Gerrit Cole is going to terrorize the NL Central for a while. Probably both, actually. Another humanizing Posey factoid: he doesn’t walk anymore. He refuses. He saw what Yasiel Puig’s been doing in Los Angeles and said, “Shoot, young buck. I can swing it with ya on that all-hit, no-walk game. Uh huh, sounds kinda niiiiiiiice.” Because Posey actually talks like Matthew McConaughey when the media and fans aren’t around. Another factoid.
Posey’s numbers are a little better now than they were at this time last year, but he hit .381 in July, .371 in August and .371 in September. It’s pretty hard to expect THAT over the next three (and a half) months, but his hitting mechanics are so efficient and adaptable. And he’s such a nice boy. (Sorry, my nana hacked the system and wrote a sentence. Probably should just leave it in.)
Bumgarner was perfect until a walk to … B.J. Upton. If B.J. wasn’t on a winning team, making millions on a long-term deal and playing next to his brother, he wouldn’t have been in the lineup. He’d be in Triple-A, or opening up a restaurant in his hometown. But there Upton was, walking on three pitches. Bumgarner rage-K’d Dan Uggla after Upton stole second, but Chris Johnson broke up the no-hitter in the sixth. No matter. Bumgarner took the way he pitched in his first five inning in Arizona (where he gave up three baserunners and no runs) and stretched it out for seven.
Bumgarner’s seven-inning gem against the Braves followed a similarly refreshing six and two-thirds from Matt Cain against the Pirates. Toss in a suddenly potent offense without that deadweight Marco Scutaro around, and maybe the Giants are in for a little hot streak of sorts. Well …
June has been a funny month, one that separates the rational from the tinfoil-hatted. Since the doubleheader in St. Louis on June 1, it’s looked like this:
June 1: Loss-Loss (0-8, 1-7) Cardinals rising, Giants fading!
June 2-4: Win-Win (4-2, 2-1) Now THAT’S what I call Giants baseball!
June 5-7: Loss-Loss (0-4, 1-3) They can’t hit … or use the DL properly!
June 8-9: Win-Win (10-5, 6-2) Look at them hit!
June 11-12: Loss-Loss (2-8, 8-12) Maybe they should be sellers at the deadline!
June 13-14: Win-Win (6/13, 6/14) Let’s make equine sounds whenever Cain gets mentioned and start calling Bumgarner “Big Country”!
In other words, who the hell knows. They seem like they’re treading water, but no one affiliated with the Giants would’ve turned down a 4-3 record at this point through a road trip like this, without so many players who play prominent roles. They’re only 1.5 games behind the D-Backs, who are dealing with injury and now suspension issues of their own.
Looking ahead …
— Today is Chad Gaudin Day! Remember to say “Happy Chad Gaudin Day” to everyone you come across tomorrow, especially if you go to an especially uptight coffee shop on Saturday mornings. Just see what they say and write down the responses you get in the comments. For me. For all of us.
— Tim Lincecum is scheduled to start on Sunday against Julio Teheran, and good news — it’s a nationally televised game! Or maybe that’s terrible news for Lincecum, who could use a little boost to his national reputation as the season marches on and his ERA sits closer to 5.00 than 4.00.
Maybe this is just what Lincecum needs. Sunday Night Baseball isn’t the same as the postseason, but it’s the first time since the 2012 World Series that Lincecum will pitch in a game that can be easily seen by the entire country, not just fans of the Giants and the team they’re facing.
Lincecum also had his best game of the season against the Braves back on May 12, seven shutout innings and a Game Score of 77.
Predict for pizza!
Here’s an easy one: write in the comments whether or not you think Lincecum will notch a quality start (six innings, three or fewer earned runs) in the comments, and we’ll choose one of the commenters on this post to win a Large Pizza (any toppings) from Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria.
If you want to get specific with your prediction, or explain what Lincecum is doing in this GIF in lieu of a prediction, go ahead:
Is he playing the air drums? Riding an imaginary bike? Trying to bring back “Gangnam Style”? I’m guessing Barry Zito wouldn’t even know if you asked him, but maybe you guys have some better ideas.