AT&T PARK — Long before Mac Williamson provided the go-ahead run with his bat and then almost gave it back with his glove, Madison Bumgarner threw yet another gem on Wednesday night.
In the San Francisco Giants 2-1 win, the left-hander limited the Boston Red Sox — owners of the most potent offense in baseball — to a single run on four hits in six innings of work.
And he posted that line without his A-stuff.
“It’s just one of those days where you wake up and you know it’s going to be a rough one,” Bumgarner said.
On Bumgarner’s self-styled off-night, the only blemish came in the top of the fourth inning when Chris Young turned on an 87-mph slider and sent it over the wall in left field.
“I was just kind of dragging for whatever reason, which translates into your delivery,” Bumgarner explained. “If you don’t feel really fresh, it’s going to show in your delivery, but we were able to make pitches when we had to.”
Bumgarner also posted that line without his usual batterymate Buster Posey, who remains sidelined with nerve irritation in his right thumb.
“It wasn’t a whole lot different,” Bumgarner insisted, when asked about pitching to backup Trevor Brown. “Me and Buster got a good relationship and we kind of know each other pretty good. I’ve thrown to him for a long time. But I’ve got to know Browny for a while now and threw a lot to him in spring training.”
Before Wednesday’s win, Posey had caught each of Bumgarner’s starts since Sept. 17, 2014. That run spanned 45 consecutive outings and had been the longest such streak in the majors.
Thanks to Williamson’s eighth-inning solo blast which narrowly got over the Chevron car that juts out from the top of the left field wall, the Giants were able to edge past the Red Sox on Wednesday night.
Still, the giant Posey-sized black cloud hangs over the club. The face of the franchise hasn’t played since Saturday in St. Louis and the Giants lost three of the four contests he missed.
Bochy rested Posey for the midweek series hoping the catcher will be ready to return on Friday night when Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers arrive for a weekend series at AT&T Park.
“He hasn’t done anything with it,” Bochy explained before Wednesday’s game. “So, we don’t have any other news, except, ‘Hey, he’s resting it and our hope is that after tomorrow’s day off, this thing will clear up.’”
Right now, it’s unclear how realistic that “hope” is. While Bochy admitted that the thumb has been an ongoing issue, the Giants have yet to clarify when exactly the irritation cropped up.
The numbers suggest that the thumb has hampered Posey for a while. The cleanup hitter has just two hits in his last 24 at bats and has a .236 average in his last 30 games.
When it comes to Posey’s recovery, the team has to be careful not to follow the same playbook it used with Hunter Pence. At the end of May, the right fielder returned rapidly from a hamstring strain only to sustain a full tear less than a week later. Now, Pence is out for two months.