Giants Confidential: 1-on-1 with Madison Bumgarner
Clayton Kershaw's stat line Sunday: 5 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, K, ND. (USATI)
GLENDALE, Ariz. – If anyone’s opinion deserves to be automatically accepted, recorded and enforced as federal law, it’s Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully.
But the Dodgers’ longtime voice might have chosen the wrong place and time to criticize the Giants on Sunday.
On an MLB.tv broadcast, Scully scolded the Giants for keeping Opening-Day starter Madison Bumgarner back in Scottsdale to face a “futures” team of prospects. The Giants instead brought minor league left-hander Edwin Escobar to face Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers.
With a sold-out crowd at Camelback Ranch, no less!
Ah, but Vin, the day might be fast approaching when both lefties, Escobar and Bumgarner, appear against the Dodgers in a series at Chavez Ravine. Escobar certainly had his share of impressive moments while technically outdueling Kershaw in a 3-2 victory.
“Escobar, he’s close,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s why he started today. He’s got a good arm, a good fastball that he can command. He’s got a pretty good changeup and curve. And really, when you talk to him, he’s a smart kid. He’s got a good feel for pitching.”
Escobar, even though he began last year in A-ball, was smart enough to know that he shouldn’t feed Kershaw any cookies. He knew that the Cy Young Award winner hit a home run off the Giants to beat them on opening day last season.
Kershaw, who grounded out to second base against Escobar, was asked if he enjoyed his first chance to hit this spring.
“Not against that guy,” Kershaw said. “I got jammed pretty good.”
Escobar did have some early jitters while allowing a run in the first inning and he issued four walks over three, but he also held the Dodgers to just one hit – a double by Yasiel Puig. He showed an ability to pitch through traffic and pitch off his fastball – two skills that pitchers often don’t learn until they arrive in the majors.
Bochy pointed out that Escobar went to school after the Dodgers’ Chone Figgins stole a basein the first inning. When Figgins reached again in the second inning, Escobar slide-stepped and gave Buster Posey a chance to throw him out (which he did).
Bochy said it’s a longshot that Escobar could be considered for a long relief role on the Opening-Day roster. He’s bound for Triple-A Fresno, where he’ll provide rotation depth. Based on what they’ve seen this spring, the Giants believe Escobar will be ready if needed.
Notes: Madison Bumgarner was so efficient against a Giants “Futures” team that after throwing 64 pitches in four shutout innings, he went down to the bullpen to throw 10 more. Bumgarner also scratched an itch by hitting an RBI single. … Top prospect Kyle Crick started for the Futures side and was beyond wild. He recorded just two outs and allowed five earned runs on a hit, four walks and two wild pitches. The “current” Giants won 8-0. … Injury updates: Tyler Colvin’s legs were sore after he slid hard twice the other day, so he is getting a break. Michael Morse (calf) said he was fine and Hunter Pence said he had very mind discomfort in his left shoulder, not his elbow as Bochy reported. Both were held out as a precaution. … The Dodgers officially named Kershaw their opening-day starter against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney. Still no word on whether Kershaw would line up to face the Giants when they come to Dodger Stadium April 4-6. Kershaw plans to spend the long flight to Australia catching up on episodes of “Friday Night Lights,” in case you were curious. … Pablo Sandoval arrived in Glendale to find that his jersey wasn’t packed in his road bag, so they announced in the press box that he’d wear No.97. Ah, but his No.48 jersey appeared just in the nick of time. Clubhouse manager Mike Murphy got word from Sandoval just as I was leaving Scottsdale Stadium, so I served as the courier. Being an errand boy actually worked out great for me, since I used the jersey as an excuse to shoot past a rather thick traffic jam of arriving fans. Sandoval got that jersey nice and dirty when he made an impressive diving stop down the third base line. … Among the things you learn when you venture into the Dodgers’ spring clubhouse: Brian Wilson won the spring ping-pong tournament. That news prompted Twitter follower @trunks8828 asked a good question: will he demand the trophy upfront or wait until a game to scream at Magic for it?