Sunday, April 2, 2017

Madison Bumgarner is the first pitcher to hit two home runs on opening day

In the top of the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Madison Bumgarner stepped in against Zack Greinke and launched a rocket of a home run.
That alone is worth pausing for, even if the San Francisco Giants’ pitcher has 15 career homers, except if you linger on that for too long you’ll miss the next incredible thing Bumgarner does.
Two innings later, Bumgarner launched another. Never before had a pitcher hit two home runs on opening day. On the second, Arizona’s outfielders barely even moved.
According to Statcast, Bumgarner’s first shot topped out at 112.5 mph. No pitcher has knocked a ball out of the park faster in the Statcast era. His second reached 112.1 mph. Naturally, the list of hardest hit homers by a pitcher now looks like this:
  1. Madison Bumgarner (112.5 mph)
  2. Madison Bumgarner (112.1 mph)
  3. Madison Bumgarner (111.0 mph)
  4. Madison Bumgarner (109.4 mph)
And that’s only part of what’s made Bumgarner so impressive on opening day.
Bumgarner was perfect through 5.1 innings with eight strikeouts using just 60 pitches. That streak ended when Jeff Mathis struck a triple down the third base line in the sixth.
Beyond the clichés of the Giants’ ace being in midseason form, getting off to a quick start and sitting atop the MVP, Cy Young and Home Run races is this simple fact: Madison Bumgarner is one of the game’s true superstars at a time when baseball is overflowing with talent. And teams should be very, very afraid to face him.
Sunday is just another example of that.
Greinke, meanwhile, exited after giving up two runs on four hits with two strikeouts and two walks.

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