But Friday night, at a packed and boisterous Raley Field, there was a ray of hope. Left-handed ace Madison Bumgarner was in town facing the Fresno Grizzlies of the Triple A Pacific Coast League. Bumgarner has been a key component of all three of San Francisco’s World Series title runs since 2010, including 2014 when he was out-of-this-world dominant, and he was making his way back to the Giants rotation after an off-day motorcycle accident on April 20 injured his pitching shoulder and left him with bruised ribs. This was Bumgarner’s second rehab appearance, his longest and first at the Triple A level.
While Bumgarner’s fastball was in an acceptable low-90s range, the sellout crowd at Raley Field was in a mood rivaling a playoff game at AT&T Park. Bumgarner wasn’t the sharpest he has ever been, giving up four runs and seven hits to the Fresno Grizzlies while throwing 62 pitches in 3 2/3 innings of work. And while Bumgarner left the game with a 5-4 lead, the game went the way so many this year have gone for the River Cats, who also are in their division’s last place — eventually losing 8-7.
But Giants’ fans were delighted that the second half of a dismal season beckoned with their ace at the ready. MadBum will no doubt be back soon. And that’s really all that mattered.
Photos by Steve Martarano