Bumgarner allowed three hits and a walk while striking out four over 3.2 innings in Monday's spring game against the Royals. Bumgarner's pitch count rose to 73 before he was pulled in the middle of the fourth inning in what was his third spring start. This was the best of three starts, something the left-hander alluded to following the game. "I felt good," Bumgarner told Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. "I kind of went about it in a little bit different way. I tried to really mix it up a lot today. We may have, but we really tried not to double-up on anything. Just keep moving the ball around, and force myself to make a completely different pitch on the next one to see where everything was at. I was pretty happy with it."
Bumgarner allowed five runs (four earned) on four hits and one walk while striking out two over 2.2 innings in Wednesday's spring game against the Indians, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic reports. Bumgarner doubled his pitch count in his second spring start, tossing 47 pitches (34 strikes). He was tagged for a three-run home run by Francisco Lindor, the biggest blow in the Tribe's four-run third inning. The left-hander told Steve Gilbert of MLB.com the usual things about getting his work in after getting knocked around in a spring training game, but Bumgarner added he's working on his changeup. "I've been working on it a lot," he said. "I've worked on it a lot in the past, too. It's always been a tougher pitch for me. There are sometimes I go out there and I've got it, and it's pretty easy, and then a lot of times it's not. I'm trying to kind of bridge that gap where it's more consistent."
Bumgarner allowed one run on one hit while striking out four over two innings in Thursday's game against the Reds. Bumgarner allowed a solo home run to Derek Dietrich, but he was pleased following the outing in which 17 of his 24 pitches went for strikes. "A lot better than expected for the first game of spring, especially the way it usually goes for me. I was pretty happy with it," the left-hander told Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. "It feels like [the curve] pretty much picked up right where it left off. I mixed in everything, threw a few more fastballs than I was originally planning." Bumgarner is on schedule to start Opening Day against the Braves.
Bumgarner will make his Cactus League debut Thursday against the Reds, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. Bumgarner had his second session against batters Sunday, which he characterized as better than the first round against live hitters. "That was a lot bigger improvement than I was actually looking for from the first one to this one," Bumgarner said. "It sure felt good. I felt really good about it." That first outing went so poorly that he requested a second opportunity to face hitters before getting into a game.
Manager Torey Lovullo confirmed Wednesday that Bumgarner will start the Diamondbacks' Opening Day game March 26 versus the Braves, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports. Though the four-time All-Star no longer finds himself among baseball's elite aces, he was an easy choice for the Diamondbacks' Opening Day nod after he inked a five-year, $85 million deal with the club in December. The home-run issues that plagued Bumgarner in 2019 may only get worse while he trades Oracle Park for Chase Field, but his ability to eat innings and strike out batters at a decent clip while limiting walks should at the very least make him a worthy depth option for any fantasy pitching staff.
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