For the second time in as many seasons, the Arizona Diamondbacks are turning to pitcher Madison Bumgarner to start them off on the right foot.
Skipper Torey Lovullo announced on Sunday via Zoom that Bumgarner will be the team’s Opening Day starter when the D-backs face off against the San Diego Padres on April 1.
It marks the seventh Opening Day start of Bumgarner’s career, who is 3-3 since getting the nod as a San Francisco Giant in 2014.
“Obviously a well deserved honor that he’s done many, many times,” Lovullo said. “I know that he’s excited about it. It was something I talked to him about post-outing the other day.”
Bumgarner or rising star Zac Gallen were the two arms most likely to get the nod entering the season. Gallen, however, has dealt with some right lateral forearm soreness in the backend of March. He was scratched from his March 22 start before it was revealed he suffered a hairline stress fracture. As of Wednesday, there is no timeline for his return to the mound.
The start will give Bumgarner the chance to rid the bad taste in his mouth from a down 2020 when he went 1-4 with a 6.38 ERA (career low) in nine starts.
Though the starting pitcher has already acknowledged he’s moved on from last year.
“I’m not really worried about 2020 or any other year except for right now,” Bumgarner said on March 16.
“Regardless of whether I won the Cy Young last year or had the year that I did, this is a new one and we’ve all moved on. … Me and everybody else is pretty well concerned about this year.”
Through two spring training games (6.0 innings pitched), Bumgarner looked to be dialing it in, going 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA. He allowed two earned runs and struck out nine. Bumgarner has also been working in the backfield to fine-tune his pitches.
Over the course of his 12-year career, Bumgarner is 120-96 with a 3.20 ERA. He’s made the All-Star Game four times (2013-16) and was named a Silver Slugger twice (2014-15).