ARLINGTON, Texas — Madison Bumgarner smiled and paused a second when asked about a fourth-inning argument that briefly cleared the benches Friday night at Globe Life Park.
“I think it was pretty self explanatory,” he said. “Don’t you?”
Well, yeah, Giants fans have seen that before. This was the third time Bumgarner has reacted angrily to a batter who made an out and got mad at himself, but that brief moment of overheating was far from the problem Friday.
The Giants lost 6-3 because the lineup couldn’t stay hot in a hitters park and Bumgarner couldn’t lock in in time. By the time he found his rhythm, two homers had led the Rangers to six runs in the first two innings.
“He was out of sync, it was pretty evident early there,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “His stuff was down a little and he was missing spots. It’s one of those games where he couldn’t settle in early and they took advantage. That’s why I think once or twice a year you should be able to get a mulligan and start over.”
The Giants couldn’t, and they never recovered. Brandon Crawford’s solo homer in the ninth was the only offense after the second inning, but there were brief fireworks.
Bumgarner had previously beefed with Carlos Gomez and Alex Guerrero over similar reactions to making an out, and when Delino DeShields popped up to end the fourth inning, Bumgarner took exception to the center fielder’s emphatic bat flip. He yelled at DeShields and gestured with his glove, and within seconds players from both sides started jogging toward the mound.
“I think he was a little grumpy anyway with the heat and the way the game was going,” Bochy said. “I guess the flip of the bat, that was his boiling point. But he settled down.”
The flip wasn’t the only thing bothering Bumgarner. Earlier in the inning Rougned Odor had gone in hard at second base, hitting Joe Panik with his upper body and arm as Panik tried to turn two. Was the slide late?
“It sure was. It sure was,” Bumgarner said. “We didn’t miss that.”
Panik downplayed the moment, saying he wasn’t sure if Odor had nefarious intentions and noting that he had not gotten hurt. Still, when Panik was going into second an inning later, he went in hard at Odor, who sidestepped Panik’s slide. Panik said that was just part of the game. If you come in late, you better expect the same thing.
Bumgarner’s brief eruption came just a few minutes after Odor’s slide, and Panik said it got the juices flowing.
“That’s the kind of teammate he is,” Panik said.
The position players all know that Bumgarner will stand up for them in a heartbeat, but they weren’t able to get him off the hook Friday. Bumgarner went deep and saved the bullpen, but he was charged with a season-high-tying six earned runs while taking the loss.
“I mean, it sucks for sure,” he said. “That wasn’t my pre-game plan.”
Bumgarner said he thought he made some good pitches in the first two innings, but the Rangers came out aggressive and put a couple crooked numbers up. This was a far cry from Bumgarner’s World Series appearance here in 2010, when he threw eight shutout innings as a 21-year-old.
“I’m glad Madison didn’t throw like this in that game,” Bochy joked.
--- Jeremy Affeldt threw two of the best curveballs he's thrown all season and struck out two in a scoreless inning. Even the one hit was just a grounder that found a hole.
"I really thought he commanded the ball well with his fastball and threw some good breaking balls," Bochy said. "That was really encouraging. He's thrown the ball well the last couple times."
The Giants looked into trading for big-name relievers but they weren't really looking for help in the sixth-seventh range. They like what they've seen from Josh Osich and Mike Broadway, two pitchers currently in Triple-A, and the coaches are intrigued by Ryan Vogelsong's success since he transitioned into a shorter role. So this is the group then, and they'll need certain guys to pick it up. Affeldt is at the top of that list, so this was a good sign.
--- If you missed it earlier, here's what Mike Leake had to say on his first day with the Giants. And here's Tim Hudson's reaction to being put on the DL and removed from the rotation.