I had a feeling before the game that if the Giants got anything going offensively, Madison Bumgarner would be in the middle of it. His batting practice was the best of anyone’s before today’s game, and if it weren’t for Bumgarner’s 1-out double in the 5th inning, the Giants’ streak of innings without a lead (which was snapped at a ridiculous 43) might’ve stretched to triple digits.
Angel Pagan, who isn’t the best centerfielder when it comes to consistently taking charge on fly balls that could go to either him or a corner outfielder, might be the best Giant when it comes to noteworthy quotes. In his postgame interview, Alex Pavlovic asked Pagan about Bumgarner.
“He’s the kind of guy that I don’t want to face. He’s very tough. When he’s on the mound, the time he’s there, he’s like a lion,” Pagan said.
If you want to see/hear that quote specifically, it’s about 1:10 into the following video:
So, not even two weeks after Mike Krukow called Bumgarner a “moose,” now he’s a lion. In other words, Bumgarner’s gone from tromping through the Alaskan wilderness to being anointed king of the jungle. The Giants Dugout Stores probably prefer it that way, since a “MadBum Lion’s Mane” would probably sell faster than a pair of “MadBum Moose Antlers.” Plus, a mane might keep one’s head and neck warm during those windy, foggy AT&T Park evenings, while the antlers would just obstruct the view for the person sitting behind whoever’s wearing them.
Bumgarner wasn’t exactly dominant today, but he battled — particularly through two innings where reigning National League MVP Ryan Braun came up with men on base. First, he struck out Braun with runners at first and second in the 3rd inning. Then in the 5th, a wild pitch by Bumgarner with Braun at the plate put runners on second and third with two outs. With the count 3-2, Bumgarner got Braun to ground out to shortstop Joaquin Arias, and was visibly excited. Not quite Sergio Romo amped, but pretty fired up for the moose-lion.
But back to Bumgarner’s double, the Giants’ most important hit in a long time. Before the 5th inning, the Giants were down 1-0 and could only muster 3 infield singles off Randy Wolf (a pitcher who always gives the Giants fits). Hector Sanchez cracked a double to deep center, and Conor Gillaspie couldn’t move him over. Bumgarner came up and laced a double down the left field line.
“It seemed like (the double) kind of busted us out of the little funk we were in,” Bumgarner said.
It seems like every time Bumgarner pitches he dazzles with his ability to do whatever it takes to lead the Giants to a win and, as Pavlovic noted, the Giants have won 11 of Bumgarner’s last 13 starts.
Here’s Bumgarner’s postgame interview:
— Pagan’s interview came after he translated for Melky Cabrera. Cabrera might not feel comfortable answering questions in English, but I’ve seen him reading the Sporting Green in the clubhouse. However, Melky’s hardly the only one who can speak English and still uses a translator. I know I’d have a hard time conducting an interview in Spanish, even though I spent three years in high school and one in college trying to learn the language. Good thing nobody will ever want to interview me in Spanish.
— As I’m typing this, Balboa and Washington High are playing in the San Francisco Section championship game. For some reason, a family is sitting right under the press box (there are about 41,800 empty seats they could choose from) and a little blond boy, about 4 years old, is screaming bloody murder. “C’mon kid, we’re working here,” said a beat writer who shall remain nameless.
— Before his double in the 5th, Sanchez was 0 for his last 12 with 6 strikeouts. With Pablo Sandoval out quite a while, the Giants can’t afford a black hole offensively when Sanchez catches, so Bochy had to breathe a little sigh of relief today. Both of Sanchez’s doubles were impressive drives.
— Cabrera’s defense has been better than most thought after he came here in the Jonathan Sanchez trade, and he looked like a legitimate No. 3 hitter today. Watching him sprint around the bases and slide into third on his triple — complete with a nifty 270 spin on his belly at the bag — was pretty cool, as Miley Cyrus might say.
— It was Sergio Romo bobblehead day, which meant an enormous line around the park this morning. However, Guillermo Mota came in to start the 8th inning instead of Romo. “I was trying to get him a break. He’s thrown two days in a row,” Bochy said. “He was available. I know he wanted to be out there, but with Lopez ready, and I was going to start the inning with Mota and had Lopez and Romo there to pick him up if things went awry.”
— There were two odd stoppages of play today. In the 9th inning some Avril Levigne wannabe ran across the outfield before climbing up into the stands and getting tackled by security.
— That was after Javier Lopez was interrupted by the Kentucky Derby. When he was brought in to replace Mota in the 8th to face Travis Ishikawa (remember him?), almost the entire Run for the Roses was replayed on the video board in center. It was a great race, the crowd got into it, but Lopez had finished up his warmup pitches before the “and down the stretch they come” portion of the race. Neither Lopez nor Ishikawa looked all that pleased, but the crowd roared as “I’ll Have Another” came from behind to take the first leg of the Triple Crown.
— I asked Bochy about that moment in the postgame presser, and here’s what he had to say:
— I also asked Lopez about the Derby delay as he was heading out the door.
“I knew (the race) was today. I thought it had already been run and they were just going to show a highlight package,” said Lopez. “It almost felt like an extended commercial break. I already threw my warmups so I wasn’t going to keep throwing.”
While Lopez didn’t complain about the delay, he admitted it was a little “strange.” Perhaps even stranger than a moose turning into a lion.