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Flummoxed Madison Bumgarner has rough night again in D-backs win

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner throws during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

The Arizona Diamondbacks are 18-31 after a 9-8 win over the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday night, and to be 13 games under .500 through 49 games means a whole lot of things are going wrong.

One of them is the poor performance of big-time free agent addition and ace Madison Bumgarner, and it has to be painful for the team that even when they get a victory, something like that is the biggest story to come from it.

The left-hander continued his season-long struggles on Tuesday, tying his career-worst number for earned runs in a game with eight, and setting new marks for hits allowed (13) and extra-base hits allowed (8).

The Angels were getting on top of Bumgarner early in at-bats all night, clearly running off a scouting report for swings from the rip.

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo acknowledged that after the game and noted those were pitches in a specific area of the strike zone the Angels must have liked.

Bumgarner was able to work through it to only one earned run through four innings, even after Los Angeles had a batter reach base seven times. He even admitted after the game that he “got away with some things.”

When Bumgarner self-combusted the next inning by giving up five runs, because the Angels were putting the ball in play on the first or second pitch a fair amount of the time, he was at a tame 68 pitches through five innings.

That allowed Lovullo the luxury of leaving Bumgarner out there if he wanted to, and indeed he did.

The Angels responded with back-to-back-to-back doubles to open the sixth, and all of a sudden, an 8-1 lead via four homers and a sac fly by his teammates was now gone and the game was tied 8-8. Bumgarner got one more out and then he himself was out of there.

Lucky for Bumgarner, those long balls provided enough insurance and David Peralta added one more of the solo variety in the eighth for the win.

But, again, it’s hard to move away from Bumgarner. Through seven starts, he now has an ERA of 8.53. He has yet to allow under two earned runs, and in three of his seven outings, he’s given up six or more earned runs.

In a credit to how honest Bumgarner has been through his issues, what’s the most concerning of all is how unsure he sounds of exactly what the problem is, as he has stated on his velocity being down too.

“I didn’t feel very confident in any of my pitches today, being able to put it where I want to,” he said.

“Man, it’s really weird. Threw a lot of strikes, not a lot of good strikes. If I tried to throw it in, it went away. If I tried to throw it away, it was in. If I tried to go up, it’s down. If it’s down, it’s up. That was frustrating trying to get everything kind of going the way I wanted it to.”

CALHOUN STRIKES AGAINST HIS FORMER TEAM

When D-backs outfielder Kole Calhoun talked with the media before the game, that included some reporters from his old team.

Calhoun was with the Angels from 2012-19, the first eight years of his MLB career. Given that and Calhoun’s upbeat personality, it was no surprise that he received some pleasant greetings, including from Mike Trout.

Yes, Trout was sure to stop by the Zoom call to say hi to his buddy and tell him that he loved him and missed him.

 

That made it clear how much of a connection Calhoun had to the franchise, so leave it to Calhoun to make them pay for letting him go.

In his first two at-bats at Angels Stadium with a different jersey on, Calhoun homered.

“Pretty cool man,” he said. “The first one was like, ‘Wow, that’s kind of surreal. First time back, old team, hit a homer.'”

In the first inning, it was a no-doubter to right-center field that scored two.

With two runners on in the third, Calhoun’s second was hit on a line and got out in a hurry.

Calhoun now has a team-high 11 home runs. Christian Walker (6) is the only other D-back player with more than five.

Back-to-back homers hit by Daulton Varsho and Carson Kelly in the second inning made it four homers for the D-backs in three innings and a 7-0 early advantage.

Then the aforementioned additional 10 other runs in the game came that brought us to a 9-8 final.


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