Madison Bumgarner of the San Fanciso Giants pitches against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning during a baseball game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Madison Bumgarner is the only player in major league baseball history with that given name, although there might be two more in the pipeline. It should also be noted that "Madison" has been one of the most popular names for girls over the last 20 years, not so much for boys.
So the exact reasons why Bumgarner was given this name by his parents a little more than 22 years ago are not known. What is known is that as dominant as Randy Wells was against the Giants on Monday night, Bumgarner was even more so against the Cubs Wednesday afternoon.
Bumgarner gave up just two singles and struck out 11 in eight innings -- unlike Wells, Bumgarner was taken out because through eight, he had thrown 119 pitches -- and the Giants beat the Cubs 4-0, hoping to gain a game on the Diamondbacks in the NL West standings. Arizona has won eight in a row, pending their game against the Rockies Wednesday night.
So I really can't complain too much about Rodrigo Lopez's performance, because the Cubs weren't going to win this game no matter who was pitching. But, I think I will anyway.
Lopez threw 75 pitches in his 5.1 innings, and 51 strikes. That looks pretty good at first glance, but he gave up nine hits and struck out two, which means he probably didn't have enough velocity to throw anything past people; just about every Giants player put the ball in play.
Not just in play, but hit hard; the nine hits included two doubles (Mike Fontenot and Chris Stewart) and back-to-back home runs by Jeff Keppinger and Pablo Sandoval. That makes 14 home runs allowed by Lopez in 74.2 innings; if Lopez threw a full season's worth of innings for the Cubs, that would translate to about 40 home runs allowed. Lopez led the NL in home runs allowed last year with 37, while pitching for the Diamondbacks.
That's just bad. Yes, I know. He eats up innings. He seems like a nice, quiet clubhouse guy. He's probably nice to his mother and loves pets.
But he'd be the fifth starter on a bad team -- like the 2010 Diamondbacks. Or the 2011 Cubs. If the Cubs expect to improve next year, Rodrigo Lopez cannot be part of the future.
One player who the next GM might consider acquiring, though, is Keppinger. Not only can he play several positions, but he has absolutely destroyed Cubs pitching. In 236 career AB against the Cubs, Keppinger is hitting .326/.379/.432 with nine doubles, two triples, four HR and 34 RBI. He's even better at Wrigley Field: .348/.407/.432 in 132 at-bats. He might not hit like that, not being able to face Cubs pitching, but if nothing else, you'd be stopping him from hitting like that against the Cubs.
The two hits were the fewest the Cubs had in any game this season. The Giants were also the last team to two-hit them before today, by Matt Cain in a 1-0 Giants win at Wrigley Field on Sept. 21, 2010.
So a tip o' the cap to Bumgarner. Sometimes the other guy just beats you. Enjoy the off day; September baseball begins at Wrigley on Friday afternoon against the Pirates.