SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — There will be some gentle weeping across the desert here when the Kansas City Royals see the Giants-A’s box score.
World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner was roughed up in the Cactus League opener, giving up four runs on five hits. The A’s, who lost to the Royals in the Wild Card Game, hit for the cycle in the first inning, including a two-run homer from former Cal star Marcus Semien. With one swing, Semien doubled up Kansas City's total from the entire World Series.
That was the last time Bumgarner faced opposing hitters. On Tuesday, he was just happy to get some work in. Bumgarner long ago passed the point of his career where spring box scores matter.
“Right now, the results I’m not worried about, whether you go out there and strike out everyone or give up three to four runs or whatever it was today,” he said. “Right now it’s just getting back into the swing of things … it’s just about getting the arm in shape, making pitches. It’s the first day — I’d like to go out there and be perfect, but it’s tough to do.”
Bumgarner said he threw all of his pitches, and about 30 total. He was removed with two outs in the second after giving up a single to Craig Gentry. The Giants' Opening Day starter struck out Mark Canha and Josh Phegley, with Canha going down on a big slow curve that Bumgarner started throwing more often in the second half last season. He said he’s not sure if he’ll throw the change-of-pace pitch that often this season, but he likes showing it because “it’s just something else to keep in hitters minds.”
Bumgarner was happy that at the very least he was able to sit in the dugout between innings and then come back out to warm up again, noting that it’s usually a step in the spring preparation process for pitchers. The second inning allowed Bumgarner to be the first Giant to be tested by the “pace of play” clocks in center field.
The clock, about 10 feet wide and placed next to the batter’s eye in straightaway center, has red numbers and counts down from 2:25 between innings. MLB is trying to get players used to being ready when commercial breaks end.
“I tried to pay attention to it because it’ll be that way during the season,” Bumgarner said. “I really didn’t have to worry about it because I usually get ready decently fast. It’s not much to worry about.”