It wasn’t a perfect game, but man, it was about as close to perfection as you can get.
Madison Bumgarner retired the first 21 Rockies he faced Tuesday before Justin Morneau lined a double down the right-field line to lead off the eighth inning. The lefty then rebounded to retire the final six hitters to complete the one-hit shutout.
But wait, there’s more.
Bumgarner needed just 103 pitches to complete the gem despite the fact that he tied a career high with 13 strikeouts. How was he able to keep his pitch count so low while racking up all those whiffs? He threw first-pitch strikes to 24 of 28 batters and had 15 0-2 counts. That’s about as dominating as it gets.
The outing was at AT&T Park, where Bumgarner has puzzlingly struggled this season, putting up a 5.17 ERA and 1.46 WHIP over 12 outings coming into Tuesday’s proceedings. He still had a 72/21 K/BB ratio over 69 2/3 frames (it’s now 85/21 over 78 2/3 innings), though, so the left-hander’s issues in San Fran in 2014 can easily be written off.
The shutout was Bumgarner’s second in August, and he finished the month with a 1.58 ERA to lower his mark for the season to 3.02. The Giants are still 5.5 games behind the Dodgers, but if the season ended today they’d hold the second Wild Card spot in the National League.
Sanchez Suffers Setback
The Tigers had been hoping Anibal Sanchez would be ready to rejoin the rotation this weekend. Now, they’re suddenly hoping he just makes it back at all this season.
Sanchez suffered a setback with his pectoral strain on Monday when he tried to ramp up the intensity during a long-toss session and is now out indefinitely.
"I threw just one pitch...,” Sanchez told MLB.com. As soon as I felt it, I knew I had to stop, because I couldn't even move my arm. It's really hard to explain that kind of pain. It's something like when you got a needle inside you, and you try to move it. That's the pain, like that. It really hurt. It's nothing like what I felt when I had my shoulder or elbow issue before."
There is some good news with Sanchez, as an ultrasound showed that the pain Monday was caused by scar tissue breaking up rather than some sort of aggravation. Still, he’s essentially back to the same place he was when he first strained his pectoral in early August.
"The ultrasound says I've got full motion, and I feel really good on that," Sanchez said. "Right now, I'm just like back at the first day [of the injury], heating and cooling the area."
The Tigers will give Sanchez’s next turn to Kyle Lobstein, and Lobstein could remain in the rotation for a while if he pitches well. With Justin Verlander coming off a shoulder injury and looking quite ordinary, Detroit has a couple question marks in their rotation. The good news is that they have Max Scherzer, David Price and Rick Porcello penciled into the first three spots.
The Shoe Fits
There’s no doubt that Garrett Richards’ season-ending knee injury was a massive blow for the Angels, but the emergence of another young righty has helped to soften it a bit.
Matt Shoemaker held the Marlins to two hits and two walks while striking out six across seven scoreless innings Tuesday. The outing was his sixth straight start where he allowed two earned runs or fewer, as he’s lowered his ERA from 4.54 to 3.33 over that time. He also sports a nifty 1.08 WHIP and 108/21 K/BB ratio over 110 2/3 frames this season.
Shoemaker is a former undrafted free agent who had just one season in the minors when he was a full-time starter where he managed to post an ERA below 4.64. He also has a ho-hum fastball that sits around 90 mph. What’s allowed Shoemaker to be effective is an array of offspeed stuff, particularly a splitter and slider that can be nasty.
It’s hard to look past the pedestrian minor league track record, and Shoemaker has also had home run issues at times in the minors and majors. However, he should have plenty of juice left in the tank after throwing 189 1/3 innings last season and could, at the very least, be a nice matchup play down the stretch in mixed leagues.
National League Quick Hits: Andrew McCutchen left Tuesday’s game after aggravating his rib injury, but he expects to play Wednesday ... Joey Votto (quad) has begun throwing and taking dry swings ... Buster Posey launched a two-run homer and a solo shot to account for the only runs in the Giants’ win Tuesday ... David Wright sat out again Tuesday with a neck injury and there’s speculation that his shoulder could still be an issue ... Tyson Ross struck out six while tossing 6 1/3 frames of one-run ball in Tuesday’s win over the Brewers ... Jorge De La Rosa left Tuesday's start in the sixth inning against the Giants with a left thumb contusion ... Anthony Rizzo smacked his 30th homer of the season Tuesday before leaving with back tightness, but he’s expected to play Wednesday ... Pedro Alvarez suffered a sprain between two toes on his left foot Tuesday and was seen exiting the clubhouse in a walking boot ... Matt Garza (oblique) could rejoin the Brewers' rotation without making a rehab start ... Bryan Morris has been sent back to Miami to be examined for hip discomfort ... Hyun-Jin Ryu (glute) could rejoin the Dodgers' rotation on Sunday ... Jonny Venters has been shut down again due to lingering discomfort in his surgically-repaired elbow ...
American League Quick Hits: Yordano Ventura was scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday due to back stiffness, but it doesn’t appear a DL stint will be required ... James Paxton delivered 6 2/3 shutout innings in Tuesday’s victory over the Rangers ... The Tigers have claimed Chad Qualls off revocable waivers, but a deal is seen as unlikely ... Zach Walters hit his sixth homer – a go-ahead shot in extra-innings – as an Indian in Tuesday’s victory over the White Sox ... Mike Napoli went 2-for-5 with an 11th-inning, three-run home run that landed in the fifth deck at Rogers Centre Tuesday ... Alex Gordon hit a two-run walk-off home run to give the Royals a victory over the Twins ... Brett Gardner (ankle) anticipates being back in the Yankees' lineup Wednesday ... Rick Porcello allowed only a pair of Jacoby Ellsbury solo homers over eight terrific innings in a win versus the Yankees ... Chris Carter hit a three-run, go-ahead home run in Tuesday’s comeback win over the A’s ... Xander Bogaerts (concussion) is expected to rejoin the Red Sox' lineup this weekend ... Jed Lowrie (finger) played catch Tuesday and could begin a rehab assignment this week ... David Ortiz (foot) missed a second straight game Tuesday ...