Apr 27, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Hicks (14) connects for a two run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
There is something about the San Diego Padres that seem to be giving the San Francisco Giants trouble this season, as they took the series opener in AT&T Park, 6-4. Tonight, much of the problem early on was Madison Bumgarner. It’s not a phrase we use a lot on this site, but Bumgarner is struggling so far this season.
Bumgarner’s line tonight: 5 innings pitched, 4 earned runs, 1 home run, 4 walks
It was far from his best outing, and perhaps close to his worst. Here’s some things to ponder about how much Bumgarner is really struggling this season.
Stats aside, I’m not worried about Bumgarner…yet. Yes, he’s struggling, but no, it’s not terrible. The problem is that he’s the “ace” of the staff. He’s the #1 starter, so he’s expected to pitch better than a #4 man in the rotation. Right now, he’s pitching like a middle of the rotation starter. But remember, it’s just April. I’d rather him work out his kinks right now, than in August or September. There’s no reason to freak out right now. Let’s talk come June and see how dominant (or not dominant) he is then. But let’s move on to the biggest problem with this team right now: Getting good hits and scoring runs. Here’s some good news – the bats starting to come back around.
- Buster Posey had 2 knocks tonight, including a double that was inches from another home run
- Hunter Pence went 1 for 4, but it included an RBI triple in the 4th
- Michael Morse was 3 for 4 tonight, with 2 RBIs
- Brandon Hicks went 1 for 4, including a bases-loaded hard hit ball caught at the wall and a home run in the 6th
- Brandon Belt went 0 for 3, but he did draw a walk and stole a base allowing him to score later that inning
In case you’re wondering, and I know you are, Pablo Sandoval was 0 for 4, with 0 walks, and left 5 runners stranded. Word is he may sit tomorrow against the lefty while Joaquin Arias gets a start at 3B.
Juan Gutierrez pitched the 6th, and while he didn’t allow a run, it was a 25-pitch inning that seemed to last 2 hours. Jeremy Affeldt pitched a perfect 7th and continued to look excellent out there since his rehab. Javier Lopez gave up a run in the 9th after a Will Venable double put him in scoring position. I know we love Lopez here, but he’s struggling this season and is not nearly as sharp as he’s been in past seasons. I will point out though, that his struggles have mostly been against righties. Tonight was the first hit he allowed to a left-handed batter.
The early innings saw two challenge plays, both being plays at 1B, and both successfully overturned for Angel Hernandez.Basically, it just gives video proof that Hernandez is as terrible an ump as everyone already knew he was.