Madison Bumgarner’s iconic delivery on point, even as spring results lag | MLB
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Madison Bumgarner has one of the most distinctive deliveries in baseball. The Giants’ ace throws that dynamic left arm way behind his back, almost like he’s a kid starting a game of helicopter with his friends, and then rotates forward and whips that arm forward, hurling the baseball toward the plate, destined to avoid contact with the bat.
Match that fluid motion with the intense scowl on Bumgarner’s face, and the result is an undeniable moment of baseball beauty. We’ve become so accustomed to brilliance from MadBum — especially in October — that it’s strange to see big numbers next to his name.
After three innings Thursday against the A’s, his spring ERA sits at 11.57 over seven total innings. Of course, it’s spring and spring stats don’t matter. Of course. Just ask him.
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“Right now I just want to make sure that, by the end of camp, everything is sharp and where it needs to be, that’s the main thing,” Bumgarner said in the Giants’ clubhouse after his outing. “Being able to throw 100-plus pitches at game speed, breaking balls doing what they should. That’s it. Regardless of the results, if, by the end of camp, I feel that way, (then) that’s perfect.”
But, and humor me here, it’s not crazy to think that the intensely — infamously? — competitive Bumgarner would have a problem accepting any sort of failure, even in spring.
He said he learned early in his career how to change his mindset in the spring.
“I was fortunate enough to have a spot on the team at a pretty young age,” Bumgarner told SN, “and we had a staff with (Matt) Cain, (Tim) Lincecum, (Barry) Zito and Jonathan Sanchez early on, a lot of established big leaguers, and I learned from those guys.”
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Bumgarner says he feels good physically. He’s not worried, even though his three-plus innings — he faced one hitter in the fourth and gave up a single — Thursday weren’t exactly ideal.
“Today was just kind of more of a grind. Nothing really came easy today. Didn’t really feel how I wanted to,” Bumgarner said. “Which, that’s good. That’s good to have games like that, especially right now. You’ve got to find a way to grind it out.
“You’re going to have those games in the regular season, as many as we play. You’re not just going to go out there and feel great every time.”
He might not have felt great, but that iconic delivery was still a sight to behold.