Urban: Giants' Bumgarner blanked but unbowed


Urban: Giants' Bumgarner blanked but unbowed

June 9, 2011

MadBum?The way the Giants are scoring for their 21-year-old southpaw this season, he's got every right to be ChappedLikeAllHellBum.Another month of this criminal lack of support business and, were he so inclined, he might be ReadyForATri-StateKillingSpreeBum.Fortunately for the Giants, Madison Bumgarner is decidedly not so inclined. Sure, he's had a few meltdowns here and there. One was fairly epic; early last year, while still in the minors, he turned into CrazyBum over some questionable calls by the home-plate umpire and displayed his displeasure by doing his best Mat Latos, trying to fire the ball all the way out of the stadium. He's had one in the bigs, too, venting more than a little frustration by doing his best Manny Pacquiao, pummeling the dugout bench as though paid by the punch.
GIANTS INSIDER GALLERY: Tough luck Bumgarner
So yeah, when MadBum snaps, he goes big. But his default disposition is as close to asleep as one can get without counting sheep.
He is to wired what Brian Wilson is to mellow.And this, without question, is going to help young Madison immensely as long as he's pitching for a team that appears to be in some sort of shock therapy that jolts them with KNBR's 50,000 watts every time one of their own dares cross that pentagon thingy they have to stand next to when that guy with the ball is throwing it toward them.Thursday's 3-0 loss to Edgar Renteria and a bunch of guys who didn't bring a World Series title to San Francisco -- sorry, Dusty; not a dig -- was all too familiar for Bumgarner.He's made 13 starts this year. In 10 of them, the Giants have scored three runs or less. In nine of them, two runs or less. In six of them, one run or less.In five of them -- five of 13! -- the Giants have rewarded his mostly solid efforts with the baseball equivalent of a Halloween bucket full of pencils. Nada. Nothing. Zero.RECAP: Cueto quiets Giants' bats, Reds take openerBumgarner's reaction to the lack of largesse? Laid back. If there's any sort of self-pity or teammate-loathing churning inside the kid's big body, he certainly suppresses it well.One explanation for his ability to avoid any run-related snappage might be that he knows there's no better 2-8 pitcher in the game, and he has a 3.23 ERA to prove it. Over his past nine starts, all of them "quality" by definition and "damn good" by decree, he's rocking a 1.93 ERA -- and a 2-5 record.That explanation likely doesn't tell the story, though. What likely does is that Bumgarner has quite a few teammates who qualify as experienced hands when it comes to pitching without a safety net.Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez and Barry Zito have each taken more than a few turns on the throw-a-shutout-or-lose carousel in recent years, and surely their counsel is invaluable. Reliever Jeremy Affeldt has been mentoring Bumgarner on the ways of the big-league world since he arrived, and that's helped, too.More than anything, though, it's a function of personality. Of maturity. Of an understanding that baseball, as often as not, is fond of kicking even its finest where they'd better be wearing a cup.BitterBum? Not this guy. He knows the score.Even when there's no score at all.

Raiders make good use of trade bounty, add dynamic WR Martavis Bryant

Raiders make good use of trade bounty, add dynamic WR Martavis Bryant

ALAMEDA – Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said the NFL draft’s No. 10 overall pick was popular on Thursday night. He was fielding calls from teams who wanted it to help the Silver and Black move up or down.

“It seemed like our pick was pretty favorable,” McKenzie said. “After sorting it through, we just went ahead and pulled the trigger.”

McKenzie and head coach Jon Gruden executed a trade with Arizona, giving the Cardinals No. 10 for Nos. 15, 79 and 152.

That’s not a king’s ransom, even for five spots, considering Arizona used the pick to draft UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen.

The Raiders made quick use of two picks. They drafted offensive tackle Kolton Miller at No. 15, and traded No. 79 to Pittsburgh for receiver Martavis Bryant.

“Martavis was all about being able to use that (extra) pick and get another player,” McKenzie said. “We feel like we’ve drafted Martavis Bryant.”

There are some obvious differences. The Raiders get a proven commodity over a college player. They get a 27-year old entering a contract year over someone under control for four years.

Bryant automatically upgrades the receiver corps, and should be the No. 3 option behind Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson. It’s also bad news for Seth Roberts, the team’s third receiver in recent seasons. Cooper and Nelson can play his spot in the slot, and he might end up with fewer opportunities in 2019.

Bryant brings something different to the mix. He’s a speed demon who can produce while stretching a defense.

He averages 15.2 yards per receptions, and 31 catches of 20 yards or more in three seasons played. Bryant should have four years under his belt, but missed 2016 while suspended as a repeat offender of the NFL’s substance abuse program.

Bryant was reinstated in April 2017, and turned in a lackluster year with 50 catches for 603 yards and three touchdowns. He was the subject of offseason trade rumors, and ended up with the Raiders on draft day.

The Raiders were comfortable taking him despite 20 games missed over multiple suspensions, confident he can help this offense.

“When we talk about character, we’re not going to condemn them. We’re not going to nail them for life, so to speak,” McKenzie said. “If we see some semblance of whether it’s remorse or whether it’s getting on the right path. … We feel good about giving Martavis an opportunity. We think with our resources, we could help him.”

Bryant’s set to make $1.97 million in 2018. That puts the Raiders over the salary cap, per the NFLPA numbers. They would’ve made moves to help pay the rookies and create roster spots, but they’ll have to get creative financially to work everyone into the financial threshold.

Why the Raiders made decision to take Kolton Miller at No. 15

Why the Raiders made decision to take Kolton Miller at No. 15

ALAMEDA – The Raiders entered the NFL draft's opening round with a couple defensive players in mind. 

They were known to like North Carolina State edge rusher Bradley Chubb, as the Athletic first reported, and Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith. They couldn't secure either elite prospect on Thursday evening. Denver took Chubb at No. 5. Chicago snagged Smith at No. 8. That was no surprise.

Then the Raiders shifted focus solely on the offensive line.  

They honed in on Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey, universally considered the best offensive tackle in this draft. The 49ers snagged him at No. 9, a selection won with a tiebreaking coin flip against the Raiders.

The Raiders didn’t use their No. 10 pick. They regrouped quickly and traded back with Arizona, taking the Nos. 15, 79 and 152 selections for the drop.

Florida State safety Derwin James and Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds were still available. The Raiders liked them both, but were undeterred in their quest to improve the tackle spot.

The Raiders took UCLA’s Kolton Miller at No. 15, the next tackle on their draft board and a guy they would've taken at No. 10. 

The pick was met with skepticism from the fan base, which considered him unworthy of the draft slot. That was especially true with top defenders available who play sexier positions. Leaving James on the board, in particular, was a point of contention for many.

The Raiders stuck with a guy they would’ve taken at No. 10. They got a couple extra picks – one quickly turned into Pittsburgh receiver Martavis Bryant – and shored up an area of weakness.

The Raiders have unheralded veteran Breno Giacomini and a mix of developmental prospects at right tackle. Miller will compete to start there this season, with a long-term plan of moving to left tackle when 35-year old Donald Penn’s contract ends after 2019 at the latest. The three-time Pro Bowler is still recovering from foot surgery, though a full recovery’s in the cards. Penn will make roughly $8 million in 2018 with a $10.3 million sum due the next year, though his 2019 money isn’t guaranteed.

Miller will cost far less than that. Having someone on a rookie deal playing a premium position – left tackles often get eight-figure salaries – will help the Raiders survive paying massive sums to Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and several star members of the offensive line.

Those plans are contingent on one key thing: Miller’s development. He has the physical tools to be an excellent NFL blocker, but must improve in some areas to reach full potential.

“He’s a big man that can move his feet,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “He’s played left tackle and right tackle. He’s been an offensive lineman pretty much his whole life. He understands the game. He’s an excellent athlete who has great potential, so we feel really good about adding him to the Raider roster.”

Miller was a second choice behind McGlinchey, but he still solves an issue on this offense. The right tackle has been a mess for years. Head coach Jon Gruden, this team’s primary shot caller, understood that. The Raiders have plenty of developmental linemen. They needed to use a premium pick in an effort to satisfy present and future needs.

While there was some debate over Miller within the organization, offensive line coach Tom Cable is happy about this pick. He was a big Miller fan, and McKenzie said he played a big role in making this pick.

His 2017 game tape wasn’t great, but he tested well at the NFL combine. Miller’s known as a hard worker focused on shoring up individual weaknesses, vital to someone who needs to develop.

“When you talk about pass protection and staying in front of his guy, that’s what he does,” McKenzie said. “I mean he’s got the length, he’s got the great feet and when you’re talking about playing at the second level, pulling. I mean, this guy has a lot of talent and we think if we can get him on scheme and get (Cable) working with him, he’s going to flourish.”