The Madison Bumgarner reunion celebration will conclude Wednesday night when the host San Francisco Giants trot out their current ace, Kevin Gausman, to face their former ace’s new team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, in the finale of a two-game series.
Giants fans got their first opportunity to say thank you to Bumgarner since he left as a free agent before the 2020 season. The home team dedicated a video tribute to the three-time champion and 2014 World Series Most Valuable Player during the second inning of Tuesday’s series opener.
The Giants led 4-0 at the time, putting the 23,802 in attendance in San Francisco in a particularly good mood.
The Diamondbacks rallied from 5-0 and 7-5 deficits to force the game into the last of the ninth inning, where the Giants took advantage of two errors by Arizona first baseman Christian Walker to pull out an 8-7 win.
The loss was Arizona’s third straight.
Bumgarner won’t pitch in the series, which he said Tuesday was probably a good thing.
“I’m glad I’m not. It would just be a lot to deal with it,” he said. “I’m sure I’m going to pitch there quite a few times in the future, but I’m not upset that I’m not this time.”
Bumgarner did pitch in San Francisco last season, but that was without fans in attendance. He took the loss in the Diamondbacks’ 4-3 defeat on Sept. 6.
He got a measure of revenge against his old mates in a 3-1 home win on Aug. 3 of this season in which he allowed just one run in seven innings.
Bumgarner went 9-9 in his final season with the Giants in 2019, a win total Gausman (10-5, 2.31 ERA) already has surpassed this year.
Gausman, a right-hander, will seek a second win over the Diamondbacks in the past eight days, having held them to one run and five hits over six innings in a 7-1 win last Wednesday.
Gausman has gone 5-1 against Arizona in his career, posting a 2.27 ERA in eight games, including seven starts.
Gausman is expected to be matched up against Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly (7-8, 4.13), who worked eight shutout innings against the Giants last Thursday, only to watch the Arizona bullpen blow a 4-0 lead in a 5-4 defeat.
The eight shutout innings lowered his career ERA against San Francisco to 2.93 over eight starts. He’s gone 3-2 in those games.
Kelly will see a Giants team that’s won three in a row and is rolling offensively, having scored 52 runs since adding Kris Bryant to the attack nine games ago.
Brandon Belt also has since rejoined the lineup, having recovered from a knee injury.
The Giants had hoped to get third baseman Evan Longoria back from a sprained left shoulder for the Arizona series. Giants manager Gabe Kapler, however, announced Tuesday it’s been postponed until at least later in the week.
“We want to make sure his body feels great before we make the decision to activate him,” Kapler said of Longoria, who is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A. “We want the assurance that he’s good to go. We’re just not quite there yet.”
–Field Level Media