Could this be Bumgarner’s last start as a Diamondback?
It’s easy to look at the final stats for Madison Bumgarner and make broad recaps of his 2021 season. And they’re pretty bad, all things considered. His 4.67 ERA is in the bottom 30 of all starters with a minimum of 100IP. After a career of averaging more than 6 innings per start, he finished the season 5 2/3rds IP and gave up 1.48 HR/9, a career-high (if you don’t count 2020 of course). After a velocity spike at the beginning of the year, he dropped back to around 90 mph, which will continue to bring questions every Spring Training.
But not everything was bad. After an IL stint due to left shoulder inflammation and setback in rehab, Bumgarner was good. Across his final 86.2 IP, he pitched to a 3.93 ERA. Peripherals weren’t great, with a 6.44 K/9 and continuing to live and die by the flyball, with the lowest GB% of his career and another bottom-10 performance.
At this point, it’s hard to figure out what to do with Bumgarner. He doesn’t fit the future of this team and is taking valuable starting rotation innings from young pitchers you’d like to see out of the awful AAA environments. And with $60 million remaining on the contract, you’re not going to find any takers for that contract straight up. So what do you do? Pay some of the contract down until you find someone desperate enough to take him? Attach a prospect? Bumgarner is just one of the many questions this front office has to answer this offseason, and I can’t wait to see what they decide.
This was actually Madison’s second return back to Oracle Park but first with fans in attendance, as 2020 saw empty stadiums due to a pandemic we’re currently in. The offense made sure Madison made his first appearance back as a hitter. With 1 out, Ramos and Varsho walked, and Carson Kelly singled home Ramos. Walker singled, loading things up and Pavin Smith hit a weak grounder to 1st, causing Kazmir to need to cover 1st on the play. He landed awkwardly when receiving the ball from the first baseman, and came up hobbling, allowing Varsho to score and Smith to reach safely on the play. Kazmir was hurt enough to need to leave the game, and this turned into a bullpen game for the Giants. Vargas struck out, but the new and improved Geraldo Perdomo walked in the 3rd run of the inning to bring up Bumgarner, who struck out to end the inning with a quick 3-0 lead.
The Giants slowly chipped away at that deficit, scoring single runs in 4 of the 5 innings in seemingly every way possible. A leadoff single and double in the first got the first run on the board in the 1st. The 3rd saw good baserunning, with Slater reaching 3rd on a single from Ruf, and Posey knocked him in with a sac fly to make it 3-2.
Brandon Crawford continued his torrid 2021 with his 24th homer of the season against his old buddy Bum, tying things up at 3. And in his final inning of the 2021 season, Bumgarner allowed Slater to reach with a leadoff single, and Posey did what he always does, doubling down the 3rd baseline to get their 4th run of the game against Madison, all but ending his night as he stranded Posey at 2nd.
The offense had plenty of chances to score the rest of the way, but only managed a single run in the 5th, as Vargas tripled to right, scoring Walker who led off things with a single of his one for the 4th and final run for the D-backs.
The bullpen (specifically Poppen, Ramirez, and Wendelken) did their damnedest to give the team a shot at the win and hurt the Giants chances at a Division win, but finally relinquished when Joe Mantiply graciously allowed a 1-out double, before walking the bases loaded and with a pulled in infield, LaMonte Wade hit a seeing-eye single through 1st and 2nd base to win the game and keep the Giants division lead at 2 games. Incredible.
Yeah that gradual upturn sure felt inevitable, despite a 3-0 lead in the 1st and a 4-3 lead in the 5th. Christian Walker continued his audition for other teams in 2022 with a 4 hit game and a +.238 WPA. Other positives were most of the bullpen barring Mantiply and those with late game hits like Vargas (RBI triple) and Pavin Smith (3 for 4, 1RBI, 1BB).
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It’s always bittersweet recapping your final game on the season, thanks for stopping by to read the ramblings of a barely literate adult. The D-backs season comes to an end with a series against the Rockies and a great shot at the worst record in the MLB with a 2 game lead on the Orioles, who won today lol.