Madison Bumgarner outshines Zack Wheeler, D-backs sweep Phillies
PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner was stellar in the team’s series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, a 6-2 win resulting in a sweep and a record of 6-1 for the club’s most recent homestand.
Bumgarner pitched eight innings, giving up only three hits and one earned run. He got involved with his bat too, knocking an RBI single in the seventh inning.
Arizona’s offense was slow out of the gates, as the Phillies sent Cy Young hopeful Zach Wheeler to the mound, and he started with three scoreless innings to match Bumgarner.
D-backs first baseman Christian Walker broke the deadlock in the fourth with a bloop single to right field for the lead after a two-out double by David Peralta.
On a day that featured Wheeler, it was Bumgarner who stole the show.
The lefty was efficient throwing 69 of his 105 pitches for strikes and having little to no traffic on the basepaths for the majority of the afternoon.
“A lot of teams are being aggressive these days,” Bumgarner said. “I am trying to make good pitches from pitch one. Usually just trying to make pitches early and throw them strikes.”
His day was highlighted by a six-pitch fourth inning that resulted in three groundball outs.
“It was about making the right pitches to the right guy,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “He has been very consistent. Ton of swing and misses in crucial counts is what stands out to me.”
The game broke open in the seventh inning with a crooked number from the D-backs.
After a leadoff double by Walker and sacrifice bunt by center fielder Daulton Varsho that moved Walker to third, third baseman Drew Ellis hit a line-drive bouncing ball toward Phillies third baseman Ronald Torreyes.
Walker, in a problematic position leading off the bag, made an athletic swim move to avoid the tag in one of the baserunning plays of the year for the Diamondbacks.
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) August 19, 2021
The play proved to be critical, as Nick Ahmed smashed a two-run RBI double in the next at-bat and the D-backs tacked on five total runs in the inning.
“Crucial play, the third baseman was right on top of him, he made an athletic play to avoid the tag, and it turned out to be a very crucial play for us,” Lovullo said.
Bumgarner ran into trouble in the eighth, allowing two hits and hitting a batter to load the bases with zero outs. He recovered, though, forcing the Phillies into a fielders choice, a strikeout and a force out for what was really his only scare of the ballgame.
The Phillies threatened in the ninth with one run and sent the tying runner to the plate, but Arizona reliever Taylor Clarke recorded a strikeout and groundout to mitigate the threat.
Wheeler did not help out his Cy Young case, as he recorded a loss in 6.2 innings pitched, six earned runs and one walk.
Bumgarner has now pitched well in seven straight games for the club. Dating back to July 16, he has allowed two earned runs or less in every start over that span. Since the start of July, he has accumulated for 46.2 innings pitched and 10 earned runs for a 1.94 ERA.
The lefty’s ERA now sits at the lowest it has been all year at 4.06.
The D-backs (41-81) will travel to Colorado to take on the Rockies (55-66) for a three-game set that begins on Friday. The Rockies currently have the second-best home record in the MLB (41-21) but are tied with the D-backs at 14-45 for the worst road record.
The D-backs will send Tyler Gilbert to the mound for his second career start and his first since throwing a no-hitter.
First pitch is set for 5:40 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM.