SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Arizona Diamondbacks staff ace Madison Bumgarner made his first start of the 2021 campaign in an 9-2 win against the Los Angeles Angels at Salt River Fields on Thursday, looking much more like his old self.
Last year, Bumgarner was 1-4 with a 6.48 ERA in nine starts. However, he did end the season on a 10.0 inning scoreless streak after he started to return to form at the tail end of one of the strangest seasons in MLB history.
This first outing was very encouraging to see, considering Bumgarner’s struggles in 2020. The lefty struck out three of the four batters he faced in the first inning, allowing only a single to Angels centerfielder Juan Lagares.
“As you guys know after last year how I take spring training and try to use it to get ready,” Bumgarner said after the start.
“Today, I maybe didn’t feel quite as good as the line shows, but I felt pretty dang good about it.”
His outing lasted two innings with six strikeouts. He allowed one hit with no runs or walks.
His velocity, which was one of the biggest drops in MLB last season, topped out at 91 MPH on the radar gun, and his curveball and cutter both looked very sharp.
“The slider and curveball were both pretty good, curveball especially was pretty good,” he added. “I’m not going to get too high on it, but I definitely felt good with how it went.”
Bumgarner continued to mow down Angels batters in the second as well, getting right fielder Jo Adell to strike out on a nasty curveball. He struck out the side in an efficient inning.
“Well this don’t count right now, so like I said I use spring training for what it’s for. I’m trying to get ready for the regular season,” Bumgarner said.
“Obviously, I want everything to go good when I’m out there, and today it did. There was some things that I would like to work on that I didn’t get a chance to today, and we will as we go.”
“To be honest with you, it’s been the bullpens, the hard work in between that stage that he was putting in that translated to the live BPs, and then more hard work that translated into what he did today, that’s what impresses me,” manager Torey Lovullo said.
“You can see the stuff was solid. He was on the attack. His fastball had finish to it. His secondary stuff was crisp and in the zone. It was a good sign, but not one I’m surprised by because I know how hard he’s been working.”
In offensive news, Ketel Marte and David Peralta both had doubles in the first inning, and outfielder Trayce Thompson hit his second explosive home run of the spring and continued to roll, going 3-4 on the day with a run scored.
The D-backs next game is their first night game of spring, travelling to Goodyear to face off against the Cincinnati Reds. Seth Frankoff will be on the mound for Arizona. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. The game will not be available on radio or television.