Bumgarner his old self in potential final tuneup before return

Bumgarner his old self in potential final tuneup before return

SAN JOSE -- Madison Bumgarner got close, but he did not strike out the Beer Batter on Monday night, thus failing to lock up discounted brews for a sellout crowd. This time, that was the only blemish.

Bumgarner was his old self on Monday night, striking out eight Modesto Nuts and allowing just two hits in six innings. He said he would wait for final word from management, but there's no doubt: Bumgarner's next start will come Saturday in San Diego.

"I'm going to plan on that," he said.

He has been all along. When Bumgarner was finally cleared to throw after a shocking dirt bike accident, he circled a date on the calendar: July 15. Under the watchful eyes of Dave Groeschner, Anthony Reyes, Eric Ortega and Tony Reali, he meticulously worked his way back. His first stint on the disabled list was without hiccups. That doesn't mean he enjoyed it.

"It sucks," Bumgarner said. "But I put myself in this spot. I wish I wouldn't have. I tried to make the best of it."

For weeks, Bumgarner focused only on pitch count. On Monday he pretended he was pitching the final game of the spring. He locked in for his second opening day.

As he did the last time out, when he allowed nine runs, Bumgarner got off to a quick start, allowing just an unearned run through three. Bumgarner's first start back in San Jose ended with an eight-run outburst in the fourth. This time, he wrapped three strikeouts around a fourth-inning single.

Bumgarner cruised to the tape, finishing with 86 pitches, the exact range the Giants had hoped for. He got a standing ovation as he walked off the field and he stopped to tip his cap.

Bumgarner was appreciative of the support, and he smiled when asked about the legendary Beer Batter, a staple of a ballpark he hopes to never again pitch in.

"I am very sorry to San Jose," he said. "Both times I tried very hard (to strike him out). I couldn't do it."

Giants prospect Heliot Ramos reflects on recent hot streak with San Jose

Giants prospect Heliot Ramos reflects on recent hot streak with San Jose

Everything felt right. There wasn’t anything off with his swing, he wasn’t pressing mentally and yet, he only had one hit in his first 17 at-bats. 

All it took was a home run on April 9 to get Heliot Ramos, the Giants’ No. 2 prospect, back on track. Since then, he's hitting .349 (15-for-43) with five home runs.

“I knew that I was doing everything right,” Ramos said on Tuesday’s Inside The San Jose Giants Podcast. “In my mind, everything was right. My confidence was good. My swing was good. I just needed the ball to get down. I just keep on swinging.” 

As he kept swinging, hits started to show up in the scorebook. What has been just as important, however, has been him not swinging. 

Ramos registered just 35 walks last season as a member of the Augusta GreenJackets and finished his first full season in the minor leagues with a lowly .313 on-base percentage. He worked all offseason tracking pitches longer and laying off breaking balls in the dirt while playing Winter Ball, and it has paid off big time. 

Through 18 games in High-A with the San Jose Giants, Ramos already has 14 walks and his on-base percentage is over 100 points higher at .418.

“I can see the ball well right now,” Ramos said. “I feel good. I’ve been feeling good. I learned a lot from last year. I hope this is something that can keep going good for me.” 

Not only has Ramos shown improved patience at the plate, the center fielder is driving the ball all over the yard. He’s batting .262 with a .991 OPS, and 11 of his 16 hits have gone for extra bases. Despite being the fifth-youngest player in the California League at 19 years old, he’s second in home runs (5), fifth in slugging percentage (.574), fifth in on-base percentage, fourth in walks, and third in OPS. 

San Jose was supposed to be a preview of what’s to come for years in San Francisco this season with the duo of Ramos and top prospect Joey Bart. A fractured hand for Bart has derailed those plans, but it hasn’t slowed down the younger of the two. 

Ramos no longer has the protection of Bart hitting right behind him. The teenager is seeing more off-speed pitches and is now the primary threat offensively to opposing teams. And yet, he’s flourished at the plate. 

[RELATED: Heliot Ramos' advancement 'really encouraging to see']

Since Bart broke his hand on April 15, Ramos has gone 8-for-26 (.308) with two home runs, two doubles, three RBI, and four runs scored. He’s growing every game as a player, both mentally and in the box score, and it could all be thanks to a disappointing season where he hit .245 with 136 strikeouts in 124 games last year. 

“Stay positive,” Ramos said when asked what he learned from last season. “That was the main thing I learned. Stay positive and never give up. Keep working hard and everything’s going to be okay.”

Giants vs. Blue Jays lineups: Drew Pomeranz goes for first win of 2019


Giants vs. Blue Jays lineups: Drew Pomeranz goes for first win of 2019

The Giants' eight-game road trip is finally coming to an end. 

And they're going for their first sweep of the season. After using four home runs to beat the Blue Jays on Tuesday, San Francisco is looking to leave Toronto with two straight wins. 

Bruce Bochy isn't switching anything up in his lineup one day after the power surge. On the hill, the Giants are sending out left-hander Drew Pomeranz. 

In appearances, eight starts, Pomeranz is 3-2 with a 4.26 ERA against the Blue Jays. The veteran is seeking his first win as a Giant.

Here are the projected lineups for the Giants-Blue Jays matchup, which you can watch on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on the MyTeams app.

San Francisco Giants (10-14)
Steven Duggar, RF
Gerardo Parra, LF
Buster Posey, C
Brandon Belt, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Pablo Sandoval, DH
Brandon Crawford, SS
Kevin Pillar, CF
Joe Panik, 2B

Drew Pomeranz, LHP (0-2, 4.82 ERA)

[RELATED: Brandon Belt not fan of robot umpires]

Toronto Blue Jays (11-13)

Eric Sogard, 2B
Brandon Drury, 3B
Justin Smoak, DH
Randal Grichuk, RF
Rowdy Tellez, 1B
Teoscar Hernandez, LF
Danny Jansen, C
Richard Urena, SS
Alen Hanson, RF

Clay Buchholz, RHP (0-0, 3.38 ERA)