All series long, there was a major dissatisfaction with the umpiring crew covering the San Francisco Giants and the Milwaukee Brewers. The strike zone is always an issue along with judgmental calls in the field of play. On Sunday, everything came to a head.
Madison Bumgarner, in an injury prone year, was noticeably a different pitcher than what one of the top mound performers had been in the past. And he knew it. His big sweeping curve really wasn’t there. His fastball absolutely was not there. His absolute perfect control was definitely not there. Or was it?
In the past couple of games, Bochy was barking at the umps for their calls, trying to get an upper hand for his under talented team. What just a few years ago was a juggernaugt, is now just a faint memory.
On the other hand, there is the powerful Milwaukee Brewers. As indicated by the Giant’s TV announcers, the first six batters in their lineup are all 20+ home run hitters. That is anything but a soft lineup to face.
But today, in Miller Park, in the bottom of the sixth, with the Giants leading 2-1, Bumgarner after retiring 15 straight hitters, walked Christian Yelich. Jesus Aguilar banged a single. Then came Ryan Braun. All series, when Braun wasn’t smacking balls over or off the outfield fences, Boochy intentionally walked Ryan to get to Schoop. But this time they wanted of faced him. Or maybe not. The first pitch came at Braun’s face. The second came inside. The third hit him. The moment after that became a setting for an explosion. Braun slowly walked to first, talking to his Giant blocking back, their catcher, as big bad Bumgarner came off the mound in the general direction of Braun mouthing big bad stuff. Braun at the same time was giving the catcher an earful. The Brewer bench posed just outside of the dugouts to defend their star while the Giants remained in the dugout clearly indicating that this was pre-planned. The Brewer manager, Craig Counsell went out to ask why the umpire had warned both teams when it was only the Giants who were headhunting. After all, Bumgarner is one of the best control pitchers in baseball. A discussion followed and that prompted the manager of the Brewers to get thrown out. Then tomorrow’s starter, Wade Miley got the toss while barking in the dugout, followed by recently called up catcher, Jacob Nottingham.
Then up stepped Jonathan Schoop, the apparent target of Bochy’s humiliating moves throughout the series. He again got what he wanted, not to face Braun but to face the weak hitting Schoop. On a weak 85 mph slider, Bang!. A grand slam home run gave the Brewers a 5-2 lead.
Bumgarner’s game was over.
The Brewers finally won 6-3, sweeping the series, finishing 5-1 on the homestead and now heading for a showdown at Gummy Park for the final regular season series with the Northsiders.
18 games to go. 3 games in the loss column behind with the second best record in the National League, 20 games above .500.
It’s going to be a heck of a pennant race.