SAN FRANCISCO -- Sometime between Madison Bumgarner's popout in the third and his go-ahead RBI single in the fifth, he approached Giants manager Bruce Bochy with a prediction only he has the resume to support."He said, 'I'm going to square up this next one.' He did," Bochy said after the
SAN FRANCISCO -- Sometime between Madison Bumgarner's popout in the third and his go-ahead RBI single in the fifth, he approached Giants manager Bruce Bochy with a prediction only he has the resume to support.
"He said, 'I'm going to square up this next one.' He did," Bochy said after the Giants' 5-2 loss to the Phillies.
Bumgarner, though, said his hit to score Ryder Jones, clocked at 109.7 mph according to Statcast™, was not quite a prediction.
"I just say stuff like that sometimes," Bumgarner said as reporters laughed. "It happened to work out for the hit."
Much as been made about Bumgarner's mound presence, velocity and command. But he's shown recently he is regaining his form with a bat, too. His single Sunday, which gave the Giants a 2-1 lead, gave him back-to-back games with an RBI.
His at-bat would have been Sunday's game-winning hit had reliever Hunter Strickland not surrendered three runs in the eighth while the Phillies tacked on another in the ninth. Bumgarner threw 111 pitches, the most he's had in a start since returning from three months on the disabled list. He allowed one run and four hits while striking out seven.
Pitching aside, Bumgarner has long been a threat at the plate. His towering home runs, combined with his occasional pinch-hit, have come to define him as a pitcher. To that end, Bochy has detected a change in Bumgarner's approach at the plate. He now has four hits since returning after the All-Star break.
"He's getting his timing down a little bit," Bochy said. "... He logged a lot of pitches, but he made pitches when he had to. We needed a hit, we got it from him."
Bumgarner said he didn't spend much time during his rehab starts working on batting. Pitching, instead, was his focus. So it makes sense that it wouldn't be fully up to his standards -- admittedly high among Major League pitchers.
"I guess I didn't hit a whole lot in rehab," Bumgarner said. "We did do a little bit. But my focus was obviously on pitching. I feel pretty decent up there. ... It's been pretty good for the last few [games]. It all just depends on the matchup for you."
Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.