Tag:Madison Bumgarner
Posted on: April 8, 2011 12:36 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Giants look to keep pitching sharp year later

The season following their 2005 World Series triumph, the pitching-strong White Sox were flat.

The season following his World Series MVP appearance, Philadelphia's Cole Hamels was flat.

There's no question that an extra month's pitching in October, with intense pressure riding on every pitch, sometimes grinds down even the best rotations.

And as the world champion Giants head toward their home opener Friday following a tough (2-3) opening trip, they're determined that their most precious asset -- their starting pitching -- will remain their strength.

Tim Lincecum, with a second consecutive impressive start in Wednesday's 8-4 pummeling of the Padres (13 strikeouts and no walks over seven innings), already is strong out of the gate. As for the overall rotation, while the Giants aren't taking any drastic measures, they've been subtly watching things all spring.

"We didn't push [the starters] once the games started in terms of pitch count," Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti said. "We kept it to a minimum."

Specifically, Righetti said, the Giants monitored their pitchers when runners were on base this spring and throwing from a stretch was required. They also kept Lincecum to 22 2/3 spring innings and Jonathan Sanchez to 20. Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito each worked 27 1/3, while Matt Cain, who was slowed by a sore elbow early in camp, worked just 13 1/3 Cactus League innings.

"We're all in the business. We've been in it our whole life," Righetti said. "We understand that pitching that extra month is a grind. The effects, when the effects are going to happen, we'll see. You can't avoid it."

One thing the Giants are doing now is to stay on a five-man rotation in the early part of the season even with five days off within the season's first 31 days. Instead of skipping the No. 5 starter -- Bumgarner in this case -- San Francisco is opting for an extra day's rest for Lincecum, Sanchez, Cain and Zito.

Plus, there might be another benefit to that later, too.

"If there are any effects, you'll see it toward the end of the year, not now," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We'll keep a watchful eye.

"That's one reason we put Bumgarner in the fifth spot. We felt if we needed to give him a break, it would be easier to do from there.

"We'll monitor where we're at during the season, and who may need a break."

Though they are heading into the unknown this season in that they've never defended a World Series title since moving to San Francisco in 1958, the one thing the Giants hope they are certain of is how to handle pitching.

"Arms are precious," Righetti said. "You've got to watch every practice, every day. That doesn't change."

Likes: The Pirates donating leftover food from concession stands to local shelters and soup kitchens to feed the hungry. Best idea of the season, and I hope other teams follow. ... Day baseball in April. ... Home openers. ... If you're not checking out our Eye on Baseball blog several times a day, you're missing out. ... The Lincoln Lawyer. Very enjoyable flick.

Dislikes: Tough break for the Twins, losing second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioki to a fractured left fibula.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"You can't have any pudding
"If you don't eat your meat
"How can you have any pudding
"If you don't eat your meat?"

-- Pink Floyd, Another Brick in the Wall

Posted on: April 5, 2011 10:05 pm
 

Giants to activate closer Wilson on Wednesday

SAN DIEGO -- Closer Brian Wilson is expected to be activated before Wednesday afternoon's game with the Padres. Now all the Giants have to do is get a lead so he can pitch.

The reeling Giants took another loss Tuesday, this one 3-1 to the Padres to fall to 1-4, and right now Wilson's absence seems the least of their problems: They've had exactly zero save opportunities in their first five games.

So if a closer is activated in the forest and nobody notices, is he really active? Or something like that.

"After throwing to hitters in LA and playing catch today, he feels great," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said before Tuesday's game.

Wilson has made no secret of his eagerness to return, but the Giants are confident that he's ready.

"Just watching him throw to hitters in LA, he wasn't hesitating," Bochy said. "He was letting it go.

"If your oblique is bothering you, you can't hide that."

***************

You can't hide some of the Giants' fielders, either. They've committed five errors in their first five games (none on Tuesday in San Diego, though pitcher Madison Bumgarner didn't distinguish himself on Chris Denorfia's bunt in a three-run third).

Bochy already is going into overdrive protecting Aubrey Huff -- rightly so -- for his uneven play in right field. Huff was supposed to be the San Francisco first baseman this year, but when Cody Ross suffered a strained calf, Huff went out to right to replace him and rookie Brandon Belt was installed at first.

"Huff played pretty good outfield last year," Bochy said. "In fairness to him, he didn't get a lot of time out there because Ross was there. Give him time."

That's fair. But it doesn't help matters short-term (Ross is expected to miss at least the first three weeks of the season).

"Andres Torres is going to weight 138 pounds by the end of the season with all that ground he has to cover," one scout quipped Tuesday of the Giants center fielder. "He's got from foul line to foul line."

Likes: If you're a fan of San Diego sports, check out Jane Mitchell's book One on One: My Journey With Hall of Famers, Fan Favorites and Rising Stars. All sorts of people -- and stuff -- in there from the popular Mitchell, who has been doing magazine-style, in-depth pieces on San Diego television for years. ... The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. Netflix'd it the other night and what a gem. Julianne Moore is terrific, and Woody Harrelson, as usual, is pitch-perfect.

Dislikes: The Padres changing uniforms again. Now their road unis are gray, not the "sand" color of the past few years. ... Butler-Connecticut, what a letdown. Ugh. ... Made of Honor. Brutal. Patrick Dempsey may be fine for Grey's Anatomy, but keep him on the small screen.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Now Paul is a real estate novelist
"Who never had time for a wife
"And he's talking with Davy who's still in the navy
"And probably will be for life
"And the waitress is practicing politics
"As the businessmen slowly get stoned
"Yes, they're sharing a drink they call loneliness
"But it's better than drinking alone
"It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday,
"And the manager gives me a smile
"'Cause he knows that it's me they've been coming to see
"To forget about life for awhile"

-- Billy Joel, Piano Man

Posted on: October 31, 2010 11:33 pm
 

Giants move to one win from Series title

ARLINGTON, Texas -- From the most unexpected of places, the San Francisco Giants struck to seize firm command of this World Series.

Rookie starter Madison Bumgarner?

Heck no. That kid, just 21, has been pitching like a veteran since making his big-league debut in late June.

No. Where the lightening came from in the Giants' 4-0 antler-busting Game 4 World Series win was ... drum roll, please ... from Fort Worth-native Aubrey Huff, who was ensconced in the lineup as manager Bruce Bochy's designated hitter.

Imagine, a National League club marching into an AL yard and flexing its DH muscle. Huff cranked a two-run homer in the third inning, smashing a cutter from Rangers starter Tommy Hunter deep into the Texas night to deliver the Giants a 2-0 lead.

The blast immediately interrupted the Rangers' hard-earned momentum from Game 3 a night earlier. It gave the Giants an early lead that allowed Bumgarner to pitch relaxed with some wiggle room. And it returned the swagger to a club that momentarily was knocked off course, however briefly, on Saturday night.

The game stayed 2-0 until the Giants scratched another run across in the seventh, then it went to 4-0 when Buster Posey, the other half of the first rookie battery to start a World Series game since Yankees right-hander Spec Shea and catcher Yogi Berra in Game 1 in 1947, blasted a Darren O'Day breaking ball over the center-field fence.

But Huff's homer was all the Giants would need. Talk about the Giants Huff-ing and puffing and staring people down in the wake of their ongoing DH struggles. In interleague play this year -- six games in AL parks -- San Francisco DH's combined to go 2-for-22 with just one homer and two RBI.

In Game 3 here, a flat 4-2 loss for the Giants, their DH, Pablo Sandoval, went 0-for-3. Buried within that was a grounded-into-double-play and a strikeout.

Huff's swing kick-started the Giants back to life, and put them in the best position yet to win their first World Series since moving to San Francisco in 1958.

How good is their position? Teams that have taken a 3-1 lead are 37-5 in World Series play.

 

Posted on: October 19, 2010 9:58 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:01 pm
 

Giants rotation keeps history, Posey busy

SAN FRANCISCO -- You've got Tim Lincecum, with his two NL Cy Young Awards, sizzling fastball (even with this year's reduced velocity), killer slider and mind-bending curve ball.

You've got lefty Jonathan Sanchez, who has a sneaky fastball, wicked slider and solid curveball.

And you've got Matt Cain, who spots his fastball that creeps up to 94.

All along, the Giants were the one team in the NL that could hang with the Phillies' killer front-three of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels if things broke right. And so far, especially after San Francisco's 3-0 Game 3 win, things are breaking right for them.

So, rookie catcher Buster Posey, which of those three is the easiest to catch?

"I'd have to say probably Cain," Posey says. "Johnny and Timmy's stuff is just so electric. Tim's fastball moves a ton. Jonathan's tremendously deceptive.

"Matt's command, he's pinpoint a lot of the time."

With the Phillies sticking with Joe Blanton for Game 4 -- despite some calls for Roy Halladay on short rest -- their hitters will get a crack at Giants rookie Madison Bumgarner, who went 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA this season.

Bumgarner is riding a pretty good wave of momentum: The Giants' shutout in Game 3 -- Cain, Javier Lopez and Brian Wilson combined -- following Tim Lincecum's Game 1 shutout of Atlanta last round gives the Giants two shutouts at home in the same postseason for the first time since they blanked the White Sox in Games 3 and 4 of the 1917 World Series.

The Big Three," Wilson said. "Or you can call them the Fab Four, I don't know. Madison shouldn't be counted out.

"You never know. At 21, he might be our secret weapon."

Likes: Tuesday afternoon by the Bay was so gorgeous it makes you wonder why every October playoff game isn't in the afternoon. Oh, yeah, the television money. My bad. ... San Francisco really has become a great baseball city. Loud, loud crowds. ... Robinson Cano's home run in Yankee Stadium against Texas should have been reviewed via replay, but it was not comparable to the Derek Jeter/Jeffrey Maier disputed homer in 1996. Maier reached over the fence into the field of play. These fans Tuesday night did not. ... Mike Quade as the new Cubs manager. He did a fantastic job after Lou Piniella left. Here's a column I did on him in late September. ... Gorgeous shot of Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay on jumbo board in center field before seventh inning started Tuesday. ... The gnocchi at Umbria Italian Ristorante in San Francisco. Great find, that place. ... Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie singing the national anthem. Great voice.

Dislikes: Obese mice.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"To everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
"There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
"And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
"A time to be born, a time to die
"A time to plant, a time to reap
"A time to kill, a time to heal
"A time to laugh, a time to weep"

-- The Byrds, Turn, Turn, Turn

Posted on: March 23, 2010 5:19 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2010 4:08 pm
 

Wellemeyer close to lock as Giants' No. 5 starter

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- San Francisco's sole remaining starter's slot crystallized a bit more on Tuesday when the Giants optioned phenom Madison Bumgarner to their minor-league camp, all but officially anointing veteran right-hander Todd Wellemeyer as the fifth starter behind Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez.

Officially, right-hander Kevin Pucetas is still in the running for a starting job, but Wellemeyer's major-league resume appears to give him a clear edge.

"He's got the experience and he's done a great job this spring," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Wellemeyer. "We're very pleased with where we're at with Todd."

Bumgarner, just 20, debuted for the Giants last summer. The Giants' first-round pick in the 2007 draft arrived ahead of schedule, which probably served to raise expectations a bit too high for the kid this spring.

"We want him to work on some things," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Control the ball a little better. He's 20 years old. He's got a bright future. We think a lot of him."

Bumgarner had a 6.43 ERA in three Cactus League appearances, and had been expected to be sent to the minors. The only mild surprise was that it came with two weeks remaining in camp. The Giants thought Bumgarner was pressing too hard, and they wanted to remove the pressure and allow him to relax.

"We want him to work on his secondary pitches," Bochy said. "And with the way Wellemeyer is throwing the ball, it makes sense to let Madison go down and pitch."

The Giants signed Wellemeyer, 31, about a week before spring camp started. Their original idea was to use him as a long reliever, even though he spent much of the past two seasons starting in St. Louis. This spring, though, he's gone 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA over 15 innings pitched -- literally pitching his way into the rotation.

Sunblock Day? Just when you thought spring was here ... woke up to a hard rain in the desert. It was wet enough it forced the Giants to hit in the batting cages in Scottsdale and the White Sox to do the same in Glendale. Cloudy and mid-50s early morning, cloudy and low-to-mid-60s at game time.

Likes: Mets shortstop Jose Reyes back to baseball on Wednesday. At least, that's what the doctors are saying, and you can bet the happiest man in Port St. Lucie will be Reyes -- followed by Mets manager Jerry Manuel. ... Pablo Sandoval hitting for the Giants. He ripped a double into the right-center gap in a Cactus League game on Tuesday on a pitch practically at his shoe tops. ... Divorcing Dodgers owner Frank McCourt in Bob Nightengale's USA Today piece Tuesday: "Tiger Woods was fantastic for me." ... As my friend Ed Price, who writes for AOL/Fanhouse, points out, there could be three opening day starters who didn't throw one pitch in 2009: Toronto's Shaun Marcum, Cleveland's Jake Westbrook and Oakland's Ben Sheets. ... Quite a look for Giants closer Brian Wilson as he strolled into the clubhouse Tuesday morning wearing bright lavender pants, white sunglasses and a Mohawk. Newcomer Aubrey Huff couldn't help hooting. ... Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline remains terrific after all these years. ... I'm told Ghost Writer is fantastic. Looking forward to seeing it. ... The Cajun rib eye at Donovan's steakhouse. Talk about flavorful.

Dislikes: Nearing the end of spring training and no trips to Richardson's Cuisine of New Mexico, the fabulous Phoenix restaurant that burned last summer.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It¹s not having what you want
"It¹s wanting what you¹ve got"

-- Sheryl Crow, Soak Up the Sun

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com