MESA, Ariz.–It was the moment Madison Bumgarner had been waiting for all spring.
In the top of the second inning of the Giants’ Tuesday evening matchup with the Cubs, Bumgarner finally took his first Cactus League at-bat.
It didn’t go as planned, but it looked much like the rest of the plate appearances the Giants strung together against Cubs’ starter Tyler Chatwood. Like six of the eight hitters who came before him, Bumgarner struck out.
There was one noticeable difference, though.
Chatwood broke off his first curveball against the feared Giants’ slugger…or pitcher.
“I actually saw the ball better than I expected to,” Bumgarner said.
While the Cubs elected to use a designated hitter against Bumgarner, he was pleased to have the opportunity to hit for the first time all spring in his club’s 2-1 loss. He was also pleased with his command against Chicago, as the Giants’ ace rebounded from allowing a leadoff home run to Ian Happ to log 5.0 innings while allowing just two runs.
“I feel like I’m right on schedule,” Bumgarner said. “At this point, we’ve worked on stuff each time out there and it’s just time to start dialing into game-type stuff and working on competing and getting guys out as opposed to certain pitches.”
Bumgarner’s fourth start of the spring marked the third time he racked up at least five strikeouts, but because the Cubs played a split-squad, several of the team’s top hitters including Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo weren’t in the lineup.
Manager Bruce Bochy was impressed with Bumgarner’s velocity, as he hit 93 on the stadium radar gun into his fifth inning of work and displayed a fastball that routinely sat around 91-92 miles per hour. It was the hardest Bumgarner’s thrown all spring, and a tick up from the average of 91.38 miles per hour he averaged with his fastball in 2017.
“He had good stuff, he did,” Bochy said. “At this point in the spring, for it to be where he’s at, that’s impressive. He made a couple of mistakes, but overall I thought he worked really good tonight. He’s got to be happy where he’s at.”
The Cubs and Giants set a Cactus League attendance record on Tuesday evening as 15,849 fans crammed inside Sloan Park in Mesa for the mid-spring affair. Both Bumgarner and his manager thought the atmosphere contributed to a regular-season like feel on a night where both teams struggled to put the ball in …read more
Source:: East Bay – Sports