Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw should be adversaries. The two left-handers have been two of the best pitchers in the game for the past decade, serving as their respective teams' ace in one of the best rivalries in baseball.
Instead, they have formed a strong bond, no matter how many times Bumgarner tries to throw bows with the Dodgers. Bumgarner respects Kershaw so much, he even once compared his strongest horse to the Dodgers' three-time Cy Young award winner.
On Sunday, though, a 10-year chapter might have come to a close. Bumgarner pinch-hit against Kershaw -- lining out to third baseman Jedd Gyorko -- in the Giants' 9-0 loss. The big question now is, was this the last time Bumgarner hit off Kershaw as rivals?
Kershaw joked to reporters that he predicted before the game that Bumgarner would pinch-hit off him. After the game, he made it sound like he won't see Bumgarner, who will be a free agent this offseason, in a Giants jersey again.
“I think once we saw he wasn’t pitching today, there would be some way to let the fans appreciate what he had done here," Kershaw said. "It’s a good way to do it. Get him in there against a lefty he’s hit a few homers against. It was a fun moment.
"He meant so much to this organization. Obviously he’s gonna keep playing -- most likely it’s not gonna be here, so it’s a great way to honor that.”
Clayton Kershaw on facing Bumgarner in possibly MadBum’s last game with the Giants: “Obviously he’s gonna keep playing — most likely it’s not gonna be here, so it’s a great way to honor that.” pic.twitter.com/T5lnC9ca9o— Dalton Johnson (@DaltonJ_Johnson) September 29, 2019
Bumgarner has 23 at-bats against Kershaw now, the most he's hit off any pitcher. The Giants lefty, who bats right-handed, has five hits, two home runs and has struck out 13 times against the future Hall of Famer.
Bumgarner is the only pitcher who has homered twice off Kershaw in his career.
One chapter came to a close in the Giants-Dodgers rivalry Sunday with Bruce Bochy managing his final game for San Francisco. Another might have too with Bumgarner and Kershaw.