“I feel like I’ll be ready right at about the time I need to be,” Bumgarner said. “What is there, two starts left? After that second one, if all goes as planned I’ll be where I need to be. I’ll have to look. Two or three, either one. If there’s two I think I’ll be ready and if there’s three I think I’ll be ready.”
He only has two left. However, Bumgarner was certainly ready for today’s start, a five-inning effort that flowed similarly to Matt Cain’s effort yesterday. He allowed one run and three baserunners in a game the Giants would eventually lose 7-6, with the run coming after a triple to the right field corner from sprinter/outfielder Billy Hamilton to lead off the game was followed by a groundout. After that, Bumgarner settled into a groove that was even better than his last start, four shutout innings against the Rangers on Monday.
“Everything felt in rhythm more today,” said Bumgarner, who for the second straight outing went away from the two-seam fastball he was experimenting with earlier in the spring.
“I just worked on keeping it away. Changeups felt pretty decent today. The misses were pretty good misses. I thought there weren’t a lot of bad misses, they were close.”
Bumgarner said that while Cactus League baseball is as close as one can get to replicating the amped-up feel of games that count in the standings, he said it’s impossible to get into that mindset until you are forced to. That’ll have to wait until the second day of the regular season against the Giants’ biggest rivals.
Stolen BASGs (and photos)
— Bumgarner also got his first chance to hit this spring, and his first hit of the spring. It was a double down the left field line off righty Logan Ondrusek (Bumgarner didn’t have much chance against Aroldis Chapman). Bumgarner was removed for a pinch runner after reaching second.
“I asked (Bruce Bochy) if there’s a chance I’d bunt so but he said, ‘Be ready to hit,'” Bumgarner said. “Got lucky and slapped one down the line.”
— It was a tale of two types of defense behind the plate today. First, it was the dependable, steady left hand of Guillermo Quiroz. Then it was Johnny Monell, who had a passed ball and experienced trouble receiving the ball throughout his three innings behind the plate.
Bumgarner on Quiroz: “He’s smart. Knows the game, knows how to catch. The only thing we need to do is throw to each other … I like throwing to him. He’s a good catcher.”
Bochy on Monell: “You can’t let that ball get by you. He’s got the bat, he’s got to get better with the catching part.”
Even though Quiroz is hitting .278 and Monell is hitting .529, there is no way Monell will be the backup catcher for this team on Opening Day if Hector Sanchez’s shoulder problems linger.
— Monell’s fielding was just one of the sloppy parts of eighth and ninth innings, where the Reds scored six runs off Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez and the Giants scored four. “That was the longest two innings I’ve seen in a long time,” Bochy said.
— Chad Gaudin struck out two in one inning of perfect relief. I asked Bochy if he’s making a case to make the final roster.
“Strong case. He’s giving us a good spring. Multiple innings,” he said. “That’s something we’re looking for. Somebody who can be resilient, give us multiple innings.”
— “You give me a little more time to get loose and I might have him in a race,” Bumgarner said … about Hamilton, who stole 155 bases in 132 games in the minors last season.
— Remember when Bumgarner got annoyed that some of the beat guys were still tweeting in the press box when he was ready for his post-outing interview (about five minutes after he threw his final pitch)? Today we heard, “Media, Bumgarner is available in the clubhouse” no more than one minute after he was removed from the game.
We went down to the clubhouse, and Bumgarner wasn’t there. 30 seconds later, he walks in.
“Thought since you made me wait last time, I’d make y’all wait,” he said. Bumgarner must not be the most patient guy if he thought 30 seconds equaled some sort of huge inconvenience for us.
— Francisco Peguero and Cole Gillespie may get some competition for that fifth outfielder spot:
This isn’t entirely surprising — teams look to upgrade the last few spots on their roster all the time. You could easily add “and infielder” to Bob Nightengale’s tweet.
— Photo time!
This doesn’t give you perfect context at how great Billy Hamilton’s jump was here (the pitch was fouled off), but check out where the ball is. The fact that you can’t see first base, or anything besides Brandon Belt’s arm, tells at least part of the story.
Next, let’s detail how the Giants scored their run in the first inning off Aroldis Chapman, who was wild early.
Here’s the definition of “TOOTBLAN” from Urban Dictionary:
Baseball statistic invented for Ryan Theriot of the Chicago Cubs, for his penchant for ill-advised steal attempts and general lack of skill running bases.
The Riot lives on!