video thumbnail

SF@COL: Bumgarner throws eight excellent frames

Madison Bumgarner's gaudy road numbers (3-1, 1.39 ERA) will receive a Mile High test Tuesday when the southpaw gets the start at Coors Field for the opener of a three-game National League West series between the Giants and Rockies.

"They got a really good lineup," Bumgarner said of Colorado. "It's arguably the best lineup in baseball. They got some hitters over there, and especially in a place like Coors Field, it definitely don't hurt 'em, being in a park like that. They got some guys who can swing it."

Bumgarner (5-3, 3.25 ERA) enters the series riding a bit of a hot streak. The 24-year-old has won three consecutive starts after dropping the previous three. His last outing was decent -- four runs on seven hits and a walk in five innings of a 10-4 win over the Braves -- and his average fastball velocity (91.7 mph, according to fangraphs.com) is up for the second consecutive season.

However, he doesn't make much of his recent success on the road.

"It's just a small sample size right now. It's early. I've had some years where it's been better on the road and I've had some years where it's better at home," Bumgarner said. "It's just the way things happen to work out, how you're feeling when you catch each team and where you're at. I think it's all that. It's nothing to do with being at a certain park. You're going out there trying to get hitters out no matter where you're at."

Getting hitters out has been a problem recently for Rockies starter Franklin Morales. In 2014, the veteran lefty is 3-3 with a 5.40 ERA and hasn't won since he beat the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 28. In his last four starts, he's allowed at least four runs and battled periodic lapses with his fastball command. He also walked a combined seven hitters in his previous two starts, both of which resulted in losses.

"Franklin was working from behind for most of the night," manager Walt Weiss said after Morales dropped a 5-1 decision to the Royals last week. "You get in bad counts and it's tough to be successful. He battled, but it was just a tough night."

Giants: Pence humble about streak
Giants outfielder Hunter Pence had very little insight to offer Sunday when he was asked about being one of the most durable players in all of baseball.

Pence played in his 351st consecutive game Sunday, the longest streak in the Major Leagues. Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder held the mark with 547 consecutive games until he missed a game Saturday with a herniated disk in his neck.

Pence has made 216 consecutive starts. He is the only Giant who has started every game and played every inning this season.

"I'm just lucky," he said.

In what way?

"That I get to play the game of baseball in general," he added.

Is it a matter of simply being healthy?

"Yeah. Lucky to be healthy. Those are things beyond yourself. Yeah, I'm just happy to be able to play," he said.

Does manager Bruce Bochy ever say it might be good to take a day off?

"He asks how I'm feeling. I feel good," Pence said Sunday. "I've got a day off tomorrow [when the Giants have an off-day]. I get days off."

What are the keys to staying healthy and being able to play every day?

His response: "I have no keys."

Rockies: Cuddyer ready to return
Defending National League batting champion Michael Cuddyer, who strained his left hamstring April 17, will return to the lineup Tuesday. It'll give the Rockies their Opening Day lineup of position players for the first time since Cuddyer suffered the injury. Catcher Wilin Rosario returned Sunday after missing 12 games because of a severe flu.

"I feel good -- no inhibitions, no limitations, not scared, nothing," Cuddyer said.

On Sunday, Cuddyer played three innings in an injury rehab game for Triple-A Colorado Springs and went 0-for-1, the out being a screaming liner to left, with a walk. In extended spring training in Scottsdale, Ariz., he tripled once and went first to third on a single.

Worth noting
• In Sunday's series finale against the Padres, the Rockies turned their first triple play since April 2007.

The rare feat happened in the third inning when third baseman Nolan Arenado handled a Carlos Quentin ground ball, touched his bag for a force, tossed it to DJ LeMahieu for the force at second, with LeMahieu then relaying it to first.

Quentin beat the throw, but San Diego baserunner Seth Smith was called for interference because of a wide slide into second, thus completing the third triple play in Rockies history.

• Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki ended Sunday leading the National League with 13 home runs. The last time the Rockies had a player with 13 or more homers in the first 45 games was in 2001, when Larry Walker had 16 and Todd Helton had 15.

• Just one Giants player has better than a .222 career batting average against Morales, but that's a doozy. Hunter Pence is hitting .571 (4-for-7) with a double and a home run.

• The Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez, who has four RBIs in his last two games, is batting .385 with five home runs, nine RBIs and four walks against Bumgarner. But Bumgarner has eight strikeouts.

• Rockies lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who will start Thursday against the Giants, said his left middle finger --- which was swollen during his last start -- was not a problem when he went to do some throwing Sunday. De La Rosa held the Padres to one hit in seven innings while earning the decision in the Rockies' 3-1 victory on Friday.

MLB.com Comments