Giants

In return to KC, Bumgarner will face hitter he first met 17 years ago

In return to KC, Bumgarner will face hitter he first met 17 years ago

KANSAS CITY — The Royals know Madison Bumgarner all too well at this point, and there will be a familiar lineup on the other side when the lefty digs back in at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday night. Longtime anchors Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez will make up the top of the order against Bumgarner, but the new No. 6 hitter is actually the Royal who has been facing him the longest. 

A day after getting called up from Triple-A, Whit Merrifield will take a crack at a player he has known for nearly two decades. Merrifield grew up in Mocksville, North Carolina, about 75 minutes away from Bumgarner's hometown. The two played against each other and played together on high school All-Star teams, but their first meeting wasn’t a positive one for Merrifield.

“So, my first memory of Bum was we were 11 years old and it was my first ever travel ball game and he was pitching for the Catawba Valley Storm, we were playing against them,” Merrifield said Wednesday. “He was this big-old-donkey lefty on the mound. I was leading off that game and my first at-bat he drills me in the head. 

“He goes on later that game to hit two home runs, and ever since then he was kind of a legend around those parts.” 

Told that story by local reporters on Tuesday, Bumgarner smiled and grimaced. 

"I did?" he said. "Geez, I don't remember that. I'm sure it was an accident."

Merrifield wasn’t bitter. He said the two got to know each other in high school.

“He’s a great guy,” Merrifield said. “It’s good to see him have success. Like I said, he was kind of a legend in North Carolina.”

Merrifield, 28, is hoping to carve out his own role in the Majors. He has come a long way since that first meeting, which was his first ever game playing outside of his county. He went to South Carolina and became a ninth-round pick of the Royals. Merrifield has played all over the field in eight minor league seasons, posting a .274/.334/.403 slash line. He batted .283 in 81 games for the Royals last year and hit a solo homer Tuesday in his return to the big leagues. 

Merrifield and Bumgarner ran into each other in the parking lot after the series opener. The Royal is looking forward to facing a pitcher who was making hitters uncomfortable long before the Giants discovered him.

“When you get a chance to go up against one of the elite guys, it’s going to be a fun night,” he said. “He comes right after you. I like to be aggressive. He’s an aggressive pitcher and I’m an aggressive hitter. Something has got to give, and hopefully my aggression will prevail over his.”

 

Giants lineup: Posey out, Sandoval hitting cleanup vs Marlins

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AP

Giants lineup: Posey out, Sandoval hitting cleanup vs Marlins

Bruce Bochy and Don Mattingly issued their lineups for today's series finale in Miami:

Giants (48-73) 
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Hunter Pence (R) RF
3. Jarrett Parker (L) LF
4. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Nick Hundley (R) C
7. Ryder Jones (L) 1B
8. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
9. Matt Cain (R) P (3-9, 5.22 ERA)

Marlins (57-61) 
1. Dee Gordon (L) 2B
2. Giancarlo Stanton (R) RF
3. Christian Yelich (L) CF
4. Marcell Ozuna (R) LF
5. J.T. Realmuto (R) C
6. Derek Dietrich (L) 3B
7. Tomas Telis (S) 1B
8. Mike Aviles (R) SS
9. Jose Urena (R) P (10-5, 3.76 ERA)

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 9-4 win over Marlins

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 9-4 win over Marlins

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The main event Tuesday night in Miami was Madison Bumgarner vs. Giancarlo Stanton. After that was over, the Giants got to work. 

Carlos Moncrief, pinch-hitting for Bumgarner, sparked a three-run rally in the seventh as the Giants ran away with a 9-4 win over the Marlins. Moncrief’s RBI single tied the game and his aggressive base running led to the go-ahead run on a Stanton error. 

Here are five things to know from the second night in Miami, with an emphasis on two large gentlemen … 

—- Round 1 of Bumgarner-Stanton probably should have ended with a homer. Bumgarner started Stanton off with a cutter low, and then went way high for ball two. Another cutter nicked the inside of the plate for a strike. On 2-1, Bumgarner threw a 90 mph fastball that leaked over the heart of the plate. Stanton smoked it into left, but just for a single. 

—- Round 2 ended with Stanton homering for the 44th time this season, and sixth consecutive game. Bumgarner started the at-bat with a good curveball for a strike, but he got burned when he tried to go down in the dirt with a cutter. Buster Posey put his glove down a couple inches above the plate but the cutter never got down. Stanton crushed it 442 feet with an exit velocity of 107 mph. He watched it fly, and Bumgarner watched him run to first. 

—- Bumgarner won Round 3. Stanton fouled off a fastball and swung through a cutter on the way to 3-2. Bumgarner threw a hard curveball at Stanton’s back foot and he whiffed. 

—- Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich were 6-for-6 against Bumgarner coming into the fifth. He struck them all out in order that inning. Overall, Bumgarner gave up four earned on nine hits in six innings. He struck out four. Bumgarner also had an RBI single off the wall. 

—- Mark Melancon’s stuff has taken a step up since he returned. He hit 93 mph and threw a handful of sharp curveballs while getting through the seventh against the top of Miami’s lineup.