SAN FRANCISCO – Cliff Lee was good. Madison Bumgarner got squeezed a bit, got mad, calmed down and then he left a couple pitches up.
OK. That pretty much covers Monday’s events at AT&T Park, although Hunter Pence’s 3-for-3 night bears mentioning. If not for him, Lee might have just kept going out to the mound until the lights were off and it was just him and the seagulls.
There were just two pieces of news to pass along from the postgame clubhouse, and they both concerned Bumgarner, who hadn’t allowed more than two runs in a start till he got charged with five in six innings.
We say “charged” because the Giants are sending a tape of the second inning to the league office, hoping for a scoring change on Eric Kratz’s single. Second baseman Marco Scutaro said he got caught between stepping on the base and flipping to shortstop Brandon Crawford for a forceout. He ended up doing neither. It should’ve been an error, in my determination – and that was the original call. But the scorer changed it to a hit and wouldn’t consider looking at it again.
All three runs in the second inning would’ve been unearned. And instead of a 2.31 ERA, Bumgarner would have a 1.73 ERA. That might make a difference come Cy Young ballot time, if the left-hander has the kind of season that the Giants believe he’s capable of having.
The league almost never overturns these appeals, so don’t hold your breath. But in general, it’s good for players to see that the organization has their back on these things.
The other point about Bumgarner’s outing was that he really had the bull snorts going over plate umpire Alfonso Marquez’s strike zone. It did seem like he wasn’t getting the high strike.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he went onto the field when he saw Bumgarner talking to Marquez after an inning, fearing he might have to go save his pitcher from himself.
“I knew the frustration was building,” Bochy said. “But they were having a conversation. That’s all.”
Bumgarner remains a competitor, but he’s not the kid who threw baseballs 200 feet from the dugout after getting kicked out of a game in Fresno a few years ago.
“I fel happy with the way I handled the situation (with Marquez),” Bumgarner said. “I moved on to the next pitch and tried to put the ball where it needed to go. It just didn’t happen this time.”
I asked Bumgarner if, entering the game, he thought of the 10 shutout innings that Lee pitched here last year.
“I remember it, but I kind of doubted they’d let him do it again,” said Bumgarner, “since he went on the DL after that.”
As I mentioned in the Instant Replay, this was just the third game in the majors in which a team left no runners on base. The Giants did it for the first time since Sept. 27, 2008, when the Dodgers’ Greg Maddux beat Matt Cain 2-1.
Maddux threw 47 pitches in six innings. The Dodgers threw 81 pitches TOTAL over nine innings. And that was the game in which J.T. Snow took his position at first base, then came out for a defensive replacement – his ceremonial retirement game.
I was looking up some stats on Pablo Sandoval’s strikeouts, since he looked bad while whiffing against Lee in each of his first two trips.
In case Lee got him again, I wondered: Who was the last pitcher to strike out Sandoval three times in a game?
Here’s the full list: _______________________________
Wow. That’s impressive.
The lower third of the lineup is no longer extending rallies or turning it over to the leadoff man. Brandon Crawford is now in a 2-for-32 slump that has dropped his average from .320 to .243.
That was fast.
No roster move after the game. I’m guessing Jean Machi will go back to Fresno on Tuesday to make room for Jose Mijares. Machi deserves to stay despite allowing a few baserunners in his last two outings, but the Giants simply cannot afford to go short on their bench with Angel Pagan’s hamstring still a bit of a question mark.
The seagulls are getting more brazen, landing in center field during the game, etc. I’m not sure how hitters are able to see with those white birds flashing across the batter’s eye.
There’s an easy solution, though. And it’s not a falconer or a remote controlled airplane disguised to look like a hawk.
Just hire Ace, the Fastest Squirrel in the World. I’m sure he’d send those birds scurrying.