Madison Bumgarner, Giants can't put dent in Dodgers' playoff hopes


Madison Bumgarner, Giants can't put dent in Dodgers' playoff hopes


SAN FRANCISCO — In the top of the eighth Friday night, a Dodgers fan was dragged out of the seats in the lower deck by three cops. A few feet away, two cops placed another fan in blue under arrest. That was about the only excitement on a night the Giants hoped would provide so much more. 

The Giants moved Madison Bumgarner back two days so he could try to put a dent in the Dodgers’ postseason hopes. Instead, Bumgarner gave up a big homer with the game tied and the lineup did him no favors, hitting into five double plays. It added up to a 3-1 loss that kept the Dodgers within one game of the first-place Rockies and all but assured that they will at least play in the wild card game. 

The Giants threatened repeatedly, but the ninth inning ended the same way. In the final frame, Brandon Crawford reached with one out. Aramis Garcia hit into the final double play of the night. Here's what you need to know from earlier ... 

—- Bumgarner worked in and out of traffic the first two times through the order and finally got burned in the fifth. Enrique Hernandez, who is 19-for-39 off him, singled with one out. Bumgarner then threw a 90 mph fastball right down the pipe to Justin Turner, who blasted it out to left to give the Giants a 3-1 lead. In six innings, Bumgarner was charged with three earned on seven hits. He finished the year with a 3.26 ERA. 

—- Bumgarner hit for himself in the bottom of the fifth despite having already thrown 96 pitches. That might have told you more about Bruce Bochy’s lack of belief in his bench than about anything else. Bochy also pinch-hit for Austin Slater with the bases loaded. That didn’t work out; Kelby Tomlinson hit into an inning-ending double play. 

—- Yasiel Puig pinch-hit to lead off the seventh and got the loudest boos at AT&T Park this season. So at least the fans had that moment. Reyes Moronta got him to fly out to center. 

Bruce Bochy impressed after first couple of weeks with Joey Bart


Bruce Bochy impressed after first couple of weeks with Joey Bart

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When the Giants announced their minor league coaches a few weeks ago, it certainly seemed no accident that longtime big league staffer Bill Hayes was the new manager of the San Jose Giants. Joey Bart, the top catching prospect in the minors, will begin the season with San Jose. 

"I know we wanted to make sure we had a catching guy with him, so this worked out great," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Billy will be a great mentor .... to have him day in and day out will be helpful with his progress. That's going to be nice for Joey."

Hayes has been a roving catching instructor in the minors since being let go as first base coach. He previously was Bochy's bullpen catcher and is about to start his 20th season with the organization. 

Bart is in his first full professional season, and thus far has mostly kept his head down. There has been some ribbing from veterans -- they made Bart hit first against Madison Bumgarner in live BP in case Bumgarner felt like buzzing someone -- but Bochy praised the 22-year-old for the way he has handled his first camp. 

"He's an eager learner," Bochy said. "You watch him and he listens and wants to take in everything ... I love the way he's carrying himself."

Bochy has had his first extended look at Bart this spring. 

"Very good mechanics. He has a strong arm and I think he has a good setup behind the plate," Bochy said. "He's a physical guy and you see the size of him, so there's no question he's going to be able to handle the workload behind the plate for a long season. And the power, it's impressive, you know."

Bart hit 13 homers in 45 minor league games last year. He has shown that pop in BP, particularly when going the opposite way, and he should soon get a crack at showing it in games. Bochy said he'll throw Bart into some early Cactus League games. The Giants kick off the exhibition season Saturday.

Giants' Kieran Lovegrove stands against racism in Black History Month shoes


Giants' Kieran Lovegrove stands against racism in Black History Month shoes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- South African-born reliever Kieran Lovegrove is a new name to the Giants' organization -- he could even be a name you've never heard of. I'm not one of those people.

However, this was the first time I met Lovegrove in person. 

Despite spending many years following each other's careers on social media, I was never given the opportunity to interview the young pitcher. But when he posted a photo of some unique shoes recently, I was curious. Not only were these beauties, well beautiful, but they had a very special message behind them:

On the inner-tongue of the Converse shoes, "Equality" in yellow is printed with "BHM" on the front. "BHM" is also engraved on the side of the colorful shoes. 

Every year, Lovegrove tries to get one of the Black History Month pairs.

"Really, it's me wanting to continue to stand against racism," Lovegrove told NBC Sports Bay Area. "Especially as it exists today, it's just gotten so divisive against people -- that's all it is -- to show solidarity."

The 24-year-old reliever was modest saying the message may not "be much," since it's a pair of shoes, but it starts a conversation.

"Fashion is a way that you can stand for something without your words being misconstrued," he said. 

Four years ago, a teammate of Lovegrove's convinced him to get a pair of Jordan's. He was unsure about them at first, but ultimately he became the new owner of Spike Lee 40's, the Black History Month edition. After receiving numerous compliments, he wanted to continue showing his support whether in the form of a shoe, or otherwise.

[RELATED: Bochy impressed with Joey Bart after couple weeks]

"Not that I need more shoes," he laughed.

He's running out of room in his closet, and with his girlfriend moving to the area in May, it's imperative he makes room. But until then, he has no problem with his kicks taking up space -- especially when it sends such a powerful message.

"I'll celebrate the accomplishments of great black men and women in history overall."