ORACLE PARK — In a postgame interview Thursday night, Madison Bumgarner took exception to a question asked about his involvement in recent trade rumors, responding that he didn’t “give a sh*t,” and was primarily concerned about winning for the Giants.
On Friday, Bochy stood behind the comments from his ace pitcher, who sounded like a man who doesn’t want to go anywhere.
“That’s him,” Bochy said. “He loves it here. He’s excited about how we’re playing. He’s not looking for anything else but to come out and help this team.”
Bumgarner’s future has become relatively unclear. Long expected to be dealt by the July 31 trade deadline, the longtime Giants left-hander has a 1.85 ERA over his last five starts, and once-moribund San Francisco has won six straight and 13 of its last 15, including a 16-inning, 3-2 victory on Thursday night. The tight win came on the heels of a seven game stretch where the Giants averaged more than eight runs per game.
“That’s what it takes to win championships,” Bumgarner said on Thursday night. “I’ve seen it three times. You’ve got to be able to win all sorts of games, and we’ve got the team that can do it. Our first half was not up to our expectations, and we’ve flipped the switch.”
If the Giants win on Friday against the New York Mets, they’ll have evened their record at 49-49. They’re now two and a half games back of the second National League wild card.
“We plan on going a lot further than that,” Bumgarner said. “We’re still close to the midway point. It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish. It’s pretty exciting to watch these games … We’ve got a lot of veterans, a lot of guys that’s been there before. If we manage to keep this going and sneak in, I don’t think anybody’s going to want to match up against us.”
The Giants promoted Ty Blach to the major league squad on Friday, as the team continues to search for bullpen help in the midst of 13-day stretch in which they play 14 games.
In a corresponding move, San Francisco optioned Williams Jerez to Triple-A after the reliever pitched two innings and picked up his first major league win. Jerez allowed two hits and walked two while ceding one earned run and punching out two.
Blach’s callup comes on the back of a four-day stretch in which the Giants bullpen has pitched 23 innings, averaging about 4 2/3 innings per game over five games.
In his only outing for the Giants this year, Blach allowed seven earned runs over 3 1/3 innings on April 30 against the Dodgers.
Blach last pitched on July 14 for Triple-A Sacramento, allowing two earned runs through 7 2/3 innings against the Fresno Grizzlies.
The Giants were limited in their callup options due to an MLB regulation that players must spend at least 10 days in the minors after being optioned before being promoted again. That rule prohibited San Francisco from recalling any one of Ray Black, Sam Coonrod or Dereck Rodriguez, and left Blach and Jandel Gustave as the only pitchers on the 40-man roster eligible for promotion.
Bochy said that Blach may be called upon to “eat up innings if necessary” in Friday’s game. At the same time, he said that all his relievers are available for the nightcap but that he’d like to avoid using Reyes Moronta, who has pitched in three of the team’s last four games.
The hero of last night’s 16-inning marathon, Donovan Solano will see more regular playing time in the near future, according to Bochy, as the manager looks to ride the infielder’s recent surge to more offensive production.
Solano is 11-for-19 in his last six games dating back to June 13, with four extra-base hits and five RBIs, including the all-important walkoff single on Thursday.
The second baseman, who platooned with Joe Panik for the majority of June, has started all but two games in July but will get an off-day on Friday. He took grounders at third with Pablo Sandoval on Thursday, and Bochy said he will sub in there to give Sandoval some time off upon occasion.
Alex Dickerson, who Bochy said “has a bit of a back issue,” will also not play Friday as he gets a scheduled day off.
Dickerson went 3-for-7 with a double and a triple in the series opener versus the Mets on Thursday.
Mike Yastrzemski will take his place in left field.
Steven Duggar has been tearing the cover off the ball at Triple-A Sacramento. The center fielder is 14-for-39 (.359) in his last 10 games and appears to be healthy after a short 10-day stint on the injured list at the end of June. So why hasn’t he been called up yet? After auditioning more than a dozen candidates during spring training and changing the entire outfield mix over the first half, San Francisco finally has a quartet that it can work with, with Dickerson, Yastrzemski, Kevin Pillar and Austin Slater.
“Duggar is really doing some good things,” Bochy said. “[But] guys are doing a really good job here right now. [Outfield] is not a priority right now as far as our needs because I think we’re getting a lot of production.”