Bumgarner gets back to his old self after two-month layoff

Bumgarner gets back to his old self after two-month layoff

SAN FRANCISCO — Forget the standing ovations or “Fire on the Mountain.” Put aside the fastball that had David Peralta take a knee, the cutter that he turned to repeatedly, and the changeup that was so surprisingly sharp that Bumgarner threw a month’s worth of them on a whim

Here’s how you know Madison Bumgarner is back and feeling normal: He was pissed off that he didn’t get a run in during his second at-bat of the season. 

“You’ve just got to find a way to get a guy in,” he said of a fifth-inning confrontation with Patrick Corbin. “Bases loaded, no outs…there’s no excuse for it.”

Well, there is, and it’s not the fact that Bumgarner is a pitcher. He had just one at-bat during a two-start rehab assignment, and Corbin is a monster. But Bumgarner wouldn’t want to hear that. He is dangerous at the plate, even coming off a long layoff, and he was disappointed in his strikeout, one of three straight for the Giants in that big spot. 

There was little else to quibble with, though. Bumgarner scattered eight hits over six innings, didn’t walk any Diamondbacks, and struck out three. He got stronger as the night went on, but the Giants didn’t. They fell 3-2, wasting one opportunity after another against a scuffling Diamondbacks club. 

The Giants left 11 on base, three in that fifth inning, when Gorkys Hernandez and Buster Posey followed with strikeouts. Posey later flied out with the bases loaded, but came up with an RBI single in the top of the ninth. Evan Longoria couldn’t finish the rally. 

That left Bumgarner with a loss, but this wasn’t a bitter night. After missing two months with a fractured pinky — “I can’t believe all this is over a pinky finger,” he would often say — Bumgarner returned to lead the rotation. He mixed in a new wrinkle, too, throwing 14 changeups, his most in nearly four years. 

“I had a good feel for it tonight,” he said. “More than I usually would. We started going to it and it was working. I’m trying to go out there and compete and adjust. I’m willing to change my gameplan.”

Bumgarner said he went changeup-heavy to offset the Diamondbacks’ aggressive swings, and that’s another way you know he’s feeling right. This night was not about getting his arm strength up. Facing hitters for just the third time since March, Bumgarner felt good enough to adjust and go for the jugular. He came up a bit short, but he was happy to be back out there trying to carry a heavy load. 

“That’s what I get paid to do,” he said. “It’s nice to earn your paycheck instead of stealing it.”

How Giants rookie Logan Webb impressed Mike Krukow in his MLB debut

How Giants rookie Logan Webb impressed Mike Krukow in his MLB debut

Giants rookie Logan Webb stepped on the mound at Chase Field in his MLB debut Saturday night and threw three straight balls before allowing a leadoff single to Jarrod Dyson. 

That was the start to an inning that could have spiraled out of control for San Francisco's top pitching prospect. Instead, he allowed just one earned run -- another scored on an Evan Longoria error -- but Webb refused to show any signs of frustration. 

“He had an opportunity to completely let that go awry in the first inning and he didn’t, he pitched through an error, he minimized the damage," Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow said Monday on KNBR. "... He came out in the bottom half of the second inning and just goes bang, bang, bang. Shutdown inning. Gets his team back in the dugout and he had two or three times he could have peed down his leg and he didn’t.”

Krukow also noted that Webb had to battle a tight strike zone in his first taste of the big leagues. The rookie only showed one instance where it affected him -- that harrowing first inning -- but didn't let it snowball. 

Webb struck out seven batters and didn't give up another run after the first inning, earning the win in his first major league start. The Giants have shuffled through multiple young pitchers this season, but none have impressed Krukow like Webb did. 

"I thought that this guy showed better than Beede has in his last four or five starts. I thought he showed better than Menez showed in his starts," Krukow said. "I didn’t think that this guy let the situation get out of hand, and again this was his first big league start.”

The Giants designated Travis Bergen for assignment Sunday, keeping Webb on the big league roster. His next start should come sometime this week against the A's with the Bay Bridge Series moving to Oakland. 

[RELATED: 'Tough mentality' early helps Webb earn win in MLB debut]

"I really can't wait for it," Krukow said on Webb's next start. "I think he's that type of guy. He's got a football background. He was a quarterback. And he has that mentality where he just charges. And I love the fact that he handled the adrenaline." 

Webb, who actually grew up an A's fan in Rocklin, will feel plenty of adrenaline in his next start as well. If Sunday was any indication, however, he knows exactly how to find his groove.

When will Giants call up red-hot Triple-A power prospect Jaylin Davis?

When will Giants call up red-hot Triple-A power prospect Jaylin Davis?

SAN FRANCISCO -- There's never a bad time to hit five homers in two games, but Jaylin Davis might wish he had been around the Giants organization in April or May. A tear like that would get any player a look back then, and Mike Gerber and Mac Williamson were among the outfielders who got a call to the big leagues after getting hot in Triple-A. 

But the Giants are in a much different place a few months later, with no vacancy in the outfield. Kevin Pillar starts every day, Mike Yastrzemski is the new leadoff hitter, Alex Dickerson hits in the middle of the order when his health allows it and Austin Slater has done a good job filling in the gaps. 

That has left little space for a new outfielder, although Davis' absurd numbers since coming over at the trade deadline have certainly opened eyes. 

"We definitely see what Davis is going," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Sunday. "It's exciting seeing how he's playing and how he's driving the ball, but the guys (here) are doing a pretty good job right now."

Under Farhan Zaidi, the Giants have made decisions and roster moves quickly. But there were no plans as of Sunday for Davis to get added to the big league roster anytime soon, even though a 40-man spot opened up when Travis Bergen was designated for assignment. 

The Giants feel like they're just fine in the outfield and need the depth in their bullpen and infield for now. But if Davis keeps hitting like this, he'll get his promotion soon enough. 

[RELATED: Giants can finally end dreaded 20-homer drought this year]

The 25-year-old, picked up from the Twins in the Sam Dyson trade, homered six times in three games in Reno, which is admittedly a launching pad for Triple-A hitters. He's batting .404 in 14 games for the River Cats with a .500 on-base percentage, eight homers and five doubles. In 113 games for three different affiliates this season, Davis has 33 homers. 

A few more homers, or a change in thinking regarding the big league roster, could get him his shot. But for now Davis looks like more of a September addition. The Giants are preparing to add a significant number of players to the clubhouse when rosters expand in 13 days.