Madison Bumgarner's first year with the Arizona Diamondbacks has been brutal. Bugmarner was hurt early on, and he repeatedly got roughed up as he struggled to pitch through a back strain. The stint on the injured list has been longer than first expected, and as Bumgarner worked his way back, a team that was a preseason contender fell out of the race and became one of the MLB trade deadline's biggest sellers.
But Bumgarner will finally get a day to look forward to. He'll be back this weekend, facing his longtime Giants teammates at Oracle Park.
The Giants have already seen the Diamondbacks twice, but Bumgarner was on the injured list both times. He has been out since Aug. 10, and he allowed 18 earned runs and seven homers in four starts before that. Bumgarner's velocity was way down, but the Diamondbacks believed it was because of the back injury, and they have been extra-cautious during the rehab process.
When Bumgarner returns Saturday, the mound will be familiar, but little else will be. Bruce Bochy is at home in San Diego and Buster Posey, who was looking forward to facing Bumgarner, opted out of the season.
Bumgarner is close with Brandons Belt and Crawford, but with the way Gabe Kapler embraces platoons, there's a decent chance he ends up looking in and seeing Wilmer Flores and Daniel Robertson in the batter's box instead.
Still, this should be fun.
It's Madison Bumgarner against the Giants for the first time, with a fair amount on the line for a pitcher trying to prove he's still got it, and a team that's hoping this homestand allows them to grab control of a wild-card spot.