Madison Bumgarner: Lefty can awaken San Francisco sleeping Giants
With the Diamondbacks slithering into a six-game slump, the Giants may have their opportunity to creep up and take first in the NL West.
What’s that thing that Giants fans love to say? Ah yes, “even year magic!” While the magic may have been on hold for the past few years, the team of vets in the Bay Area are now slowly climbing their way to the top of the NL West.
The Dodgers are still hungover; the Rockies have been hot and cold, and now, the Diamondbacks have hit a six-game skid. No one was really sure what they would get from the Giants in the west this year, let alone if stockpiling these players to create a median team age of about 30 would work for them going forward.
As it stands today, however, it looks as though it’s working just fine. Winning their last two in a row, they now rest at .500. Despite the Reds’ success in LA against a Dodger team that’s having difficulty with the simplest tasks, the Giants should have no problem sweeping the pesky Little Red Machine.
For the first time in a while, time may actually be on the Giants side now that Madison Bumgarner is nearing his return.
The return of “Mad Bum”
The Giants once again took a hit with the loss of Madison Bumgarner when he broke his pinky in his last start of Spring Training. On the bright side, at least this was an actual baseball injury and not a dirt bike accident of his own design that kept him out for months last year.
Still, regardless of how Bumgarner injures himself, it’s no secret that the Giants play better when he’s on the mound and in the clubhouse. While he’s not set to return just yet, Michael Wagman of MLB.com notes he’s made some significant progress in throwing off the mound as of May 14th. His initial return date was set for May 25th, and while Bruce Bochy thinks he’s progressing nicely, it’s doubtful that he’ll actually return by that time.
The benefit of Mad Bum suffering this injury so early in the season is that there is still plenty of time for him to recover and maybe come back by mid to late June. Even if we want to assume that he wouldn’t return until after the All-Star Break, if the Giants can remain afloat in that time, there’s still a lot of baseball left for him to play.
The Giants don’t really have an ace in their rotation right now. Jeff Samardzija was pitching like he forgot how to throw a baseball and is posting a 6.94 ERA after missing the start of the season with a strained pectoral muscle. Johnny Cueto was a silver lining until he too went down with injury due to elbow inflammation. And yet, despite losing some of these bigger pieces on their pitching staff, the Giants have kept themselves from falling too far out of contention. If Bumgarner returns at full health, the rest of the NL West may have a much harder time trying to keep them as basement dwellers. Don’t be surprised if come July, the Giants are exactly where they were hoping to be this year: atop the NL West.