Madison Bumgarner is running out of time to salvage his season.
The left-hander will try for the seventh time to earn his first win with Arizona when the Diamondbacks visit the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday to begin a three-game series in Anaheim, Calif.
One of the heralded free agents last offseason, the 30-year-old veteran eschewed offers from several clubs and finally settled on a five-year, $85 million deal with the Diamondbacks.
Nine months later, Bumgarner (0-4, 7.52 ERA) is traversing the worst season in his 10-year career.
From the season’s outset, Bumgarner has struggled. On Opening Day, he dropped a 7-2 decision at San Diego, working only 5 2/3 innings. He allowed the Padres three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out four.
The disturbing feature, however, was a drop in fastball velocity. Normally with a fastball clocked around 92 mph, Bumgarner was between 86 and 89 mph, and his control suffered.
Struggling, Bumgarner and left his Aug. 9 start at San Diego after only two innings because of back spasms. He gave up six runs and five hits, including four home runs — two from Manny Machado.
Next came a stint on the injured list.
“Looks like I should not have been out there,” he said after that game. “I’ve had my share of disappointments, and this is right up there. I came over here to help this team, and I just want to go out there and give these guys a chance to win.”
In two starts since he was activated from the IL, Bumgarner has allowed a total of four runs on 10 hits in nine innings during a loss to the San Francisco Giants and a no-decision against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bumgarner has never faced the Angels, which means he gets his first look at Mike Trout. A more familiar face will be Albert Pujols, from his days with the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League. Pujols is 2-for-6 with a homer in his career vs. Bumgarner.
On Sunday, the 40-year-old slugger hit his 660th career home run, tying Willie Mays for fifth place on the all-time list.
Pujols’ blast in the eighth inning proved to be the deciding factor against the host Colorado Rockies.
“For it to be the game winner on top of all that, it was kind of like a perfect moment for him,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said, according to MLB.com. “And for us. We’re still not out of this thing, mathematically, and to get a big knock like that, it could help get our spirits (up) for the next couple days.”
The Angels sit in fourth place in the AL West, 3 1/2 games behind the second-place Houston Astros. The top two teams in each division go to the postseason in this pandemic-altered season.
Their other option would be as a wild card, but Los Angeles is 6 1/2 games behind in that chase with only 12 games left to play.
The Angels will send a veteran pitcher of their own to the mound on Tuesday, right-hander Julio Teheran (0-3, 8.23 ERA).
Teheran, 29, has yet to turn in a quality start in six tries. His longest outing has been five innings, a level he has reached once as a starter and once as a reliever this year.
Most recently, at Texas on Wednesday, Teheran took the loss when he gave up five runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. He had allowed just one run through four innings before the Rangers scored five in the fifth.
Teheran, who spent nine seasons with the Atlanta Braves in the NL, might have fond memories of facing the Diamondbacks. In 10 career starts against them, he is 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA.
–Field Level Media