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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bats Finally Show Up for Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner is the youngster of the Giants staff, at just 21 years of age, and tonight he goes up against a tough opponent in Chad Billinglsey, a guy notoriously tough on San Francisco hitters. Bumgarner takes the hill tonight, desperate to get into the winning column for the first time all year, but, more than likely, it's going to be the Giants' hitters that decide his fate.

Sometimes I worry a bit about Bumgarner when I look up and see that he's sitting at 0-6 with a 4.25 era for the season entering Thursday. This kid deserves a W more than anyone in the league with the way he's been throwing, and the Giants have to give him one to ease his mind. His season is reminding me of the year Matt Cain had in the 2008 season when absolutely nothing went his way and he finished the year at 7-16 despite having a 3.65 era and a .234 BAA. The Giants just didn't score for him, and when they did, the bullpen couldn't hold opposing teams down, but all Cain did was kept hustling and it's made him the pitcher he is today. I really hope this same stretch helps Bumgarner get stronger, mentally, on the mound, and more apt and able to take on distractions and the occasional rough start. In the playoffs last year, he seemed cool as a cucumber, but earlier this year, it seemed like he was pressing a bit. His last 4 starts have gotten him right back on track though, and any worry should be relieved. Over those outings, Madison has gone 25 innings, allowing 5 earned runs on 19 hits and 6 walks while 25 batters. Unfortunately, he's gone 0-3 in those 4 outings because the Giants scored a total of 7 runs and the bullpen imploded in his most recent outing. That's why tonight's match-up in LA is so big. Not only do the Giants need to sweep LA to keep stronghold of the division, they need to get their young lefty's mind right.

With the way the Giants offense has been in such a funk lately, it was so nice to see Cody Ross step up Wednesday night and hit that game winning, 3-run shot. Ross missed a lot of spring training with that injury, and played only 9 games in April in which he was far from impressive, but you could tell he was just getting his time back. Now since May's hit, he's found his groove, and I expect him to keep on producing the way he has over the last few weeks. In fact, all 3 of his homers and 9 of his 10 RBI have come in the month, along with a .325 batting average and 1.026 OPS. It's just too bad they can't take one of their plethora of outfielders and plant him over at third or shortstop. I know Nate Schierholtz (check his minor league career) and came up playing 3rd base, and in a blowout, why not give him an infielders glove and let him play. He's got the cannon arm, so even if he knocks ground balls down, he'll get the guy at first. I know it's a big move, but hey, I'd be willing to bet Schierholtz plays a better 3rd base than Aubrey Huff did RF.

Still though, it's been so long since he was a 3rd basemen, it would jeopardize the defense too much I think, otherwise they would have already explored that option (though with Belt down now, they don't really have another first basemen besides Buster). All I know is, the Giants have 4 outfielders who deserve to be in the lineup most days in Burrell, Torres, Ross and Schierholtz. All of those guys really are outperforming the infielders, and by a wide margin. Also, on a side note, with at least one corner outfield spot opening up next year (Burrell on 1 year deal, also believe Ross is a 1st time FA too), Nate's playing like he wants consideration for that spot, the Giants have to give him at least 450 at-bats to see what he does with them. I personally say he takes off, like (.300/15/60/.850/15 SB) kind take off, by years end if given the opportunity.

And they Do, Kind of: Well, the bats certainly didn't explode by any means, collecting just 3 runs vs. the Dodgers tough righty Chad Billingsley. Fortunately, all Madison Bumgarner would need was 2 runs, as he took a shutout into the 9th inning with 2 outs before yielding an RBI double to Jerry Sands. That brought on Brian Wilson who subsequently, after walking 2 batters and making things interesting, closed out the game and the sweep with the 3-1 victory... Offensively, the Giants were led by Migeul Tejada, who had 2 hits and an RBI and is now hitting .222. Freddy Sanchez also had a hit and drove in two runs in two big at-bats vs. Billingsley. So even though they didn't bust out and score 8 runs for him, Madison showed his maturity by pitching like it was 1-0 the whole game. It's hard to believe it's taking until May 18th for this kid to get his first W... By the way, Nate Schierholtz's catch cannot go un-noticed, that get's by him, we have the opposite results.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Black and Orange said…

    I wonder if they're giving Nate all this PT in order to shop him maybe? They need a SS of course and a LH releiver maybe.

    What about Nate Schierholtz and Manny Burris or Fontetnot, straight up for Yunel Escobar from Toronto?

    Then Burris or Fontenot could play SS, and allow Nate to play everyday in left field over Coery "AAAA" Paterson.

    I personally think Nates a .300/20/80/ guy with 20/20 potential in the waiting if just given 500 ab's... He's showing it so far.

  • At 2:45 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    That actually would be one heckuva trade on both ends. The Jays could be getting a .300 hitting outfielder with pop and the Giants get their shortstop.

    Just depends on how intent Toronto would be on keeping Escobar (which I mentioned a few posts back talking about Reyes). SS is an optimum position and quality SS's are about as tough to come by these days as a really good, left-handed starting pitcher. You saw what the Yankees gave the aging Jeter right ($20M/year)? (which is why Jose Reyes is going to get huge, huge $$$ and wouldn't fit SF's budget)

    Now, all that said, Schierholtz is breaking out this year, whether he's finally comfortable or what, he's a new player. And the Giants have an unclear outfield situation heading into the future. Burrel's on a 1-year deal and Ross, I believe, is scheduled for his first run at free agency as well. So, yeah you need a shortstop, but Schierholtz may very well be starting in RF for the Giants in 2012.

  • At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Bumgarner got a hit himself.

    This guy really is like Matt Cain. Great hitting pitching and never give up attitude. I like it!

  • At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't know that I'd trade Nate now! I really think he's starting to bloom, maybe a little late, but he's still only 27 I think. Escobar is a good SS though and would be for the next 3-5 years.... Who knows, I guess it makes some sense for both teams?

  • At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Oakland Giants Fan said…

    Very interesting match-up tonight on the hill. Cahill vs. Vogelsong.

    You wouldn't have thought that 6 months ago, but here we are, and I bet Vogelsong beats him. That could be my biased coming out though, life long Orange and Black fan though born in Oakland!

  • At 10:42 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    I love Aubrey, but I almost would bunt him here.....Specially vs. the lefty!... No double play!

  • At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Sarah Coover said…

    Just listening to KNBR after Friday game and Byrnsy makes a good point and you are too know saying how big Nate Schierholtz has been.

    Can't believe of the Giants 11 home wins, 5 have been 1 run wins/last-inning wins! Crazy! We need a bat, not doubt!

  • At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Mike Fontenot play 3rd last post-season when Uribe was at short?

    Wouldn't that insist that he's more confortable at third, since Uribe isn't considered a good defensive SS.

    Now they have Fontenot out of place at short and Tejada at third?

    Why not let Fontenot play the position he's confortable at and Miggy play short. I know he doesn't have quite the range, but that's his spot, and he's played there for 15+ years!

  • At 3:50 PM, Anonymous J-Bill said…

    Yeah, I think Fontenot's at short cause Tejada is better at third than he is at short and Fontenot can cover more ground... That's the only reason I can think of.

    Or why not give Manny Burris a shot? He's finally healthy, or so he says, maybe he can play like he did for that short stint in 2008 when I think he hit close to .300 then got hurt the next spring and has fallen off the Giants radar....

    Give someone else a chance, Im sicke of Fontenot/Tejada/Derosa!


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