This is not what anyone would have pictured when Madison Bumgarner signed a five-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Giants walked into Chase Field on Tuesday as the best team in the big leagues, the Diamondbacks as the worst. In Bumgarner's first meeting against his old team with fans in the stands, there were just over 8,800 in the seats.
The meeting didn't have as much buzz as it could have, but the night still appeared to mean a lot to Bumgarner, and he stepped up as he always has in the spotlight. Bumgarner threw seven strong innings, leading the Diamondbacks to a 3-1 win over the Giants, who went down quietly most of the night. In his second game against the team he once starred for, Bumgarner picked up career win No. 126.
Bumgarner turned it over to Tyler Gilbert, a Santa Cruz native. The Giants seemed set up perfectly against the lefty making his debut, but Gilbert struck out Austin Slater and Darin Ruf and got Kris Bryant to fly out. Tyler Clippard worked around a Donovan Solano double in the ninth to close it out.
Same Old Madison
The Giants had some hard-hit balls -- including three at 97-plus mph in the first inning -- against Bumgarner but not much to show for it. Bumgarner allowed six hits, walked one and struck out four, joining just five other pitchers who have completed seven innings against this Giants lineup.
The plan from the right-handed-heavy lineup seemed to be to be aggressive, and that allowed Bumgarner to keep his pitch count down. Once the most durable arm in MLB, Bumgarner had gotten through six innings just six previous times this year, but he hit that mark at just 82 pitches Tuesday. In the seventh, he retired Steven Duggar, Casali and Alex Dickerson in order.
Bumgarner got his old results with a slightly new look. His velocity is down from his peak years, and he maxed out at 91.6 mph and averaged 90. He got just seven swinging strikes, but kept the Giants off balance by using all four pitches. He threw 34 fastballs, 26 cutters, 25 curveballs and 14 changeups. The curve was particularly effective, with 18 of them landing for strikes.
Johnny Cueto seemed to spend the entire night pitching out of the stretch and had to do some nifty work to get out of jams. He ended up giving up three earned and throwing exactly 100 pitches to get through five innings.
All three runs came in an odd second inning. Cueto allowed a single to Christian Walker and double to Nick Ahmed, then made the mistake of walking Bumgarner. With two on, catcher Curt Casali was called for interfering with a ball by stopping it with his mask. That moved both runners up a base and Asdrubal Cabrera made it 3-0 by lining an elevated changeup into the right field corner.
Bum At The Plate
Bumgarner entered the night with just three hits on the season and no homers, so he's not quite having the type of year there he's accustomed to. But he did reach base in two of his first three career plate appearances against the team he hit 19 homers for (there was a DH last season so he didn't hit in a September matchup).
Cueto walked Bumgarner in the three-run second inning and Aaron Sanchez pitched carefully to him in the sixth, issuing a free pass after Bumgarner fouled a couple of pitches off. Bumgarner has seven walks this season, more than he had in any of his first seven seasons with the Giants. His career-high is 10, set in 2016. It's probably no coincidence that those came the year after he hit five homers.