Jinxes don’t exist, but I feel kind of guilty after how tonight went.
Generally it’s standard practice to keep conversations on Twitter’s direct message feature private, but I’m guessing @LOLKNBR won’t mind in this case. Madison Bumgarner has just retired the side in order, giving him six perfect innings.
The nervous energy I get when I know I have to do something started pumping through my veins. My heart rate increased by 10 or 20 beats per minute. Before I knew it, I was wearing a polo shirt, jeans and actual shoes instead of a t-shirt, shorts and nothing on my feet. I was taking the dog out to the backyard. I was opening up the garage. I was speeding down Golden Gate Avenue, weaving through Priuses and buses. I was on 6th Street, contemplating my next driving maneuver.
Justin Morneau golfed one into the right field corner. Within two seconds, I was making a left on Clementina and heading back home in time to catch Buster Posey’s second home run.
The perfect game Yusmeiro Petit came so close to achieving never seemed real, let alone likely. This one looked like a lock. Our buddy Alex Pavlovic has been writing throughout the season that Bumgarner would collect his own no-hitter someday. It was just a matter of time. With Gregor Blanco’s leaping catch at the left field wall on Drew Stubbs’ blast in the first and a great play by Brandon Crawford to *barely* get Matt McBride at first (on a play that the Rockies didn’t challenge — a truly charitable decision by Walt Weiss and his staff), it seemed like tonight had to be the night.
Bumgarner has to be pleased — hell, this was the best game he’s ever pitched. One hit, no walks, 13 strikeouts. 103 pitches, 80 strikes. But on a night where his fastball was lethal, especially above the belt, that 1-2 curveball to Morneau (after three straight fastballs) is going to haunt him for the rest of his days. But even after that double, he struck out the next four Rockies before inducing two lazy pop flies to end it.
“It was macho. It was very macho. A lot of fastballs. He shook off a lot of breaking balls,” said Mike Krukow during the postgame wrap. “And the hit that he gave up was a 1-2 breaking ball. They set the target away and he missed middle-in with it. And even at that, he took the legs out of Morneau. That was an off-balance swing.”
The Giants only have one perfect game in franchise history, Matt Cain’s in 2012. But like Pavlovic has said so many times, Bumgarner will get that no-no someday.
What about a Cy Young, though? Bumgarner is certainly in that realm now, but pitching in the same league as Clayton Kershaw (who came an error away from his own 15-strikeout perfect game against these same Rockies) is like playing in the NBA in the 1990s at the same time as Michael Jordan. Kershaw is on his way to leading the majors in ERA for the fourth straight season and shows no signs of slowing at age 26, so he either needs to “retire” from baseball for a couple years and hoop it up in the D-League, or Bumgarner needs to just keep pitching like this and hope the writers get tired of voting for Kershaw.
And that, my friends, is the first and only time Madison Bumgarner will ever be compared to Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson or Karl Malone.
— I’m still not sure if I would’ve made it through the media entrance at AT&T Park in time. Probably not, actually. Pretty ill-conceived mission all around, but whatever.
— Madison Bumgarner has 192 strikeouts. His next start is on Aug. 31, so 200 strikeouts before September seems likely.
— The Giants’ franchise record for strikeouts since 1903 is held by Tim Lincecum, who notched 265 punch-outs in 2008. Bumgarner is in line for six more starts this season, so earning the San Francisco Giants record is probably not in the cards since he’d have to average just over 12 per game the rest of the way.
— When it comes to dominant performances from Bumgarner and Posey in the same game, tonight’s combined effort did what seemed impossible. It trumped the last game before the All-Star Break, when they both hit grand slams.
— Bumgarner showed almost no emotion whatsoever after Morneau hit that ball down the line.
— The Dodgers beat the pathetic D-Backs, who are more worried about the t-shirts visiting fans wear than just about anything else these days. The Giants are still five back in the West, and they’re 1.5 games ahead of the Atlanta and Pittsburgh for that second wild card spot.
— The big day is just two days away! (Or one day away, if you’re reading this on Wednesday morning.)
I’ll be there, Bruce Bochy will be there, hopefully I’ll see some of you at one of the two Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria restaurants in San Francisco on Thursday, where from 3-10 pm they’ll donate 100% of all sales at both locations to the Homeless Prenatal Program. And if you want hot pizza in the morning for a change, Murph and Mac will be at the King Street Amici’s from 6-9 am on Thursday morning. They’ll do their show, and Amici’s will give out free slices and coffee to anyone who wants to come by and watch.