After the second inning, MLB.com’s Gameday showed that Madison Bumgarner threw all of his first 14 pitches for strikes. It wasn’t true (neither the pitch count or the strike/ball numbers), although I believed it at the time because (1) I’m too lazy to keep track of every single pitch and (2) Bumgarner was around the plate all afternoon.
Bumgarner didn’t walk anybody on Tuesday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium. In fact, 49 of his 65 pitches were strikes. However, after a dominant first inning where he struck out David DeJesus and Starlin Castro, the rest of Bumgarner’s 4-inning outing looked almost like batting practice for the Chicago Cubs (who won 5-4 today, if you’re keeping track). He allowed 7 hits overall, but while it seemed like he didn’t throw any pitches outside the strike zone, Bumgarner had a different take on his day.
“I got behind early a lot of times, and instead of sticking with my stuff and making a pitch, maybe I gave in a little bit and leave one over the middle.”
I kind of wonder if the players think it’s funny that they have to answer questions after everything they do during exhibition season. For established almost-stars like Bumgarner, all they have to do to make the Opening Day roster is remain healthy, and the relaxed atmosphere allows them to work on new things in a slightly more competitive setting than a standard practice.
“I experimented on a little different slider grip,” said Bumgarner, who looked ready for a night of line dancing with his Ducks Unlimited hat and cowboy boots. “It was okay, there were some really good ones and some really bad ones, too. That’s what Spring’s all about. Just practicing and getting ready for the season.”