It’s a bit breezy by the Bay and Madison Bumgarner is set to take on Jon Gray and the Colorado Rockies in game one of a four game series here in San Francisco.
The Giants come in to the series having won three of their last four contests, and their first series of the season. The Rockies, on the other hand, recently suffered their first series loss (2-1) thanks to the Padres, who routed Colorado 6-0 in Wednesday’s rubber match. The Giants and Rockies will play each other nineteen times throughout the course of the 2017 season, and tonight’s matchup should give fans an idea of what to expect as the year unfolds.
Bumgarner will look to build on his first two starts of 2017. He pitched well in both performances, but did not earn a win. Thus tonight, in his first home start of the season, he hopes to capture win number one. The big lefty went 9-4 with a 2.14 ERA at AT&T Park last season, slightly better than his 6-5 away record. Historically, Bumgarner has pitched well against the Rocks. In three meetings last year, Bumgarner was 1-0 with a 1.40 ERA. Still, Carlos Gonzalez, the Rockies’ right fielder, hits Bumgarner as well as anybody – you could even say he’s got “ownage” on the three time world champion. In the fifty six times Carlos Gonzalez has faced Madison Bumgarner, he has collected eighteen hits, and five of them have been home runs – no other big leaguer has hit more than three career longballs off of Bumgarner. Those numbers may have been helped by the thin air at Coors Field, however, they’re impossible to ignore, and that’s a matchup that will be fun to watch in tonight’s ballgame.
Opposing Bumgarner, Gray will also be in search of his first win tonight. In his last start, Gray went 5.1 innings, allowed one run, struck out just one batter at took the loss while facing the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gray’s one strikeout tied his career low, and that should give you some idea about Gray’s ability. He lives for the punch-out. Thrives on it. The 25 year old ranks 31st all time on the Rockies’ strikeout list, and in 2016 he set a rookie franchise record with 185 Ks. In his last start at AT&T Park, Gray lost 7-2 and allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
“It’s about night and day compared to [Coors],” Gray said of AT&T Park. “The toughest thing for me is to locate my fastball. I actually get a lot of movement there, so I have to be really precise where I start my pitch. It’s something different. I don’t really like it; [at Coors], I can be more about power.
A few lineup notes, Brandon Crawford is out of tonight’s ballgame due to the fact that his sister in law passed away. Thus, regular third baseman Eduardo Nunez will be playing short, while Connor Gillaspie will man third. Buster Posey is still on the seven day DL after taking a fastball to the head on Monday. Tim Federowicz will be doing the catching for Bumgarner.
There are a few grey clouds overhead, but don’t expect a downpour in tonight’s ballgame. A chill wind is pulling the flags lining Levi’s Landing out towards the Cove, so expect balls in the air to have some personality.