SAN DIEGO -- The changeup has always been a feel pitch for Madison Bumgarner, and the D-backs left-hander knows it can come and go at a moment's notice.
On Sunday afternoon against the Padres, Bumgarner had it working as he continued his run of good starts since coming off the injured list. Unfortunately for the D-backs, they could not do much offensively against Blake Snell and a pair of relievers as they fell, 2-0, at Petco Park.
Bumgarner allowed two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out five over seven innings. He was also efficient with his pitches, needing only 80 to navigate the outing.
"These are the types of days that every starting pitcher wants to have," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "He was controlling counts. I think he had one three-ball count."
Jake Cronenworth accounted for all the damage off Bumgarner, plating a run with a single in the first and homering in the fourth.
"It'd be tough to say, but I want to say it's probably as good as I've been all year, really, as far as command and efficiency and putting all of it together," Bumgarner said.
Bumgarner threw 15 changeups. To put that in perspective, the most he's ever thrown in a game during his 13-year MLB career was 16 on June 16, 2018, for San Francisco.
Last time out, when he held the Giants to one run over seven innings, Bumgarner threw 14 changeups.
"I've had a little better feel for it," Bumgarner said. "Like I told you guys before, it comes and goes. It's always been a tough pitch for me. And here the last handful of games, it's been pretty decent for me. Hopefully it stays that way, but I'll adjust to whatever I need to. I'm used to it coming and going."
The D-backs' offense struggled against Snell, who allowed only two hits and three walks and struck out 13 in seven innings.
For Lovullo, it's a fine line between tipping his hat to Snell and also demanding more from his hitters. One thing Lovullo would have liked is for the hitters to have taken the offspeed pitches that Snell threw at or below the bottom of the strike zone, rather than chased them.
"I want to be respectful," Lovullo said of Snell. "But I believe in our hitters enough to make some adjustments and attack some of the best pitchers in the game. To get to where we want to go, we have to beat pitchers like this. You fast forward into an October series, and you're going to have two or three of these types of guys. I feel like our guys were locked in and trying to put up some good at-bats. It just didn't unfold the right way for us."
And because it didn't, the D-backs missed an opportunity to claim their first road series win since they took two of three from the Braves in Atlanta on April 23-25. They've now lost 13 straight road series.
"We've got to finish the job and play complete games," Lovullo said. "We've got to be more consistent in every area in order to win a series on the road. And that day is coming. We are playing better baseball. We are a good baseball team that's starting to figure out who we are."