Giants

Madison Bumgarner waiting for results to match improved stuff on mound

Madison Bumgarner waiting for results to match improved stuff on mound

PHOENIX -- More than anything else -- the injuries, the rebuilding, the trade rumors -- Madison Bumgarner is frustrated by the losing.

So he was happy on Saturday night after getting backed by eight runs in the Giants' win over the Diamondbacks, but he was also perplexed. 

"It's a weird game," he said.

Bumgarner was referring to his own results. His stuff has taken a noticeable tick up in the last four starts, but he was charged with four runs in 6 1/3 innings on Saturday and has given up 11 earned in those four appearances. That's certainly not bad by any means, but it's not quite what he expects given how the ball is coming out of his hand. 

"I feel like I'm throwing the ball as good as I ever have," Bumgarner said. "The results not being there is frustrating."

Bumgarner's fastball and cutter again had a little extra zip on Saturday, and he hit 93 mph with eight pitches. He had done it 14 total times in his first nine starts. His fastball averaged a season-high 92.4 mph and his cutter was coming in at 88, but the pesky Diamondbacks kept making him work and eventually knocked him out in the seventh, when Bumgarner hit 93.2 mph with his last fastball of the game. That was his 10th-hardest pitch of the season. 

"Today I felt the best I've felt all year," he said of his command. "And somehow you look at the line and you walk three and give up four runs. It just doesn't match up. That's the frustrating part of the game."

Bumgarner shrugged it off, noting a couple of times how weird baseball can be.

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The results will come eventually, but by then he may be pitching in another uniform. There were plenty of scouts at Chase Field on Saturday to get a close eye at Bumgarner, and if the velocity bump sticks around and the command is still there, he could be the biggest name moved before the trade deadline. 

Mayor London Breed clears way for Giants' June return to Oracle Park

Mayor London Breed clears way for Giants' June return to Oracle Park

The Giants expect the construction of their new bullpens to be finished in the next week or so. It might not be much longer before players are allowed to throw off the mounds. 

San Francisco mayor London Breed outlined new reopening rules on Thursday afternoon, and there was good news for professional sports teams. As part of a phase that will go into effect before June 15, professional sports teams can practice in the city of San Francisco with an approved plan. The city is targeting June 15 for the next phase, which states in part, "Professional sports games, tournaments and other entertainment venues allowed with no spectators with approved plans."

The players and owners are still far apart in negotiations, but if they can strike a deal that gets baseball back in July -- the target is to get games back by the July 4 holiday -- the Giants will be cleared to come home. Internally, they are still discussing the next steps and what a Spring Training 2.0 might look like. They're trying to decide between training at Scottsdale Stadium and doing so at Oracle Park, and the current lean is said to be returning to San Francisco.

It's not quite that easy, of course. The Giants would have to make significant changes to the structure at Oracle Park, expanding clubhouse space and finding new areas within the ballpark's footprint to train while following social distancing rules. They're hashing all of that now, and while they were never all that concerned about the restrictions in San Francisco, it certainly is a sigh of relief that the city is officially moving forward with reopening plans. 

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The Giants have quietly reopened one of their other facilities in the meantime. Players who remained in the Scottsdale area have been allowed to work out at the ballpark there, although social distancing is practiced and there are limits on how many people can be in the building at one time. The vast majority of the team remains spread out across the country. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

How Giants fans' support impressed Mike Yastrzemski, Mauricio Dubon

How Giants fans' support impressed Mike Yastrzemski, Mauricio Dubon

Mike Yastrzemski and Mauricio Dubon entered this season as two of the more popular Giants, but a year ago at this time they were in extremely different situations. Yastrzemski was just getting his feet wet in his first week in the big leagues. Dubon was playing in Triple-A for the Milwaukee Brewers. 

They both got shots to grab a starting role later in the 2019 season with the Giants, and both did enough that they were going to be in Gabe Kapler's Opening Day lineup, possibly right at the top. Life changed quickly for Yastrzemski and Dubon, and on this week's episode of "Chalk Talk at Home," they talked about how far they've come. Both said interactions with the Giants fan base stood out early in their big league careers. 

"I struck out my first at-bat and they were still cheering for me walking back," Yastrzemski  "You don't get that too often, where it's a big market, big city with a huge history of winning, and usually fans demand excellence. The fans are so great out there that they're just exited for somebody to get an opportunity to come help the team and they're going to support you."

Dubon came along three months later, but he already knew all about Oracle Park's supportive fan. He grew up as one after moving to Honduras to Sacramento as a teenager. Still, Dubon found himself surprised by early interactions. 

"I was just trying to play baseball and the next thing I know I'm walking down the streets going to the field and a lot of people are honking in the car and saying hi to me, and I had no idea how they recognized me," he said. "It's pretty amazing how the Giants fans are."

Last year's rookie breakouts are training in Nashville and Miami, respectively, and both hope to be back at Oracle Park soon. MLB is angling for a July return, although there are plenty of hurdles. Whenever the sport resumes, it'll do so without fans, which might not be the adjustment you would expect.

Yastrzemski said he's able to get so focused at the plate that he never hears any noise anyway. The outfield may get weird, though. 

"You're used to having to like try and scream at the guy next to you to try and get his attention," he said. "You can whisper now."

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Yastrzemski said it's going to be interesting to see how guys react, because some really feed off the energy coming from the seats. Dubon certainly qualifies as one of those players, and he said the empty stadium "is going to be weird."

"I'm a guy that feeds off that," he said. "I've just got to get used to it, I've just got to get used to not having anybody. I played in rookie ball here in Florida with literally nobody and it's going to be pretty much like that with the best players in the world."

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]