Giants ace Madison Bumgarner started the regular season in style, helping his own cause against the Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke. Bumgarner swatted his 15th career home run, taking a 92 MPH fastball on a line out to left-center field in Arizona on Sunday afternoon.
Bumgarner has now homered off of Greinke twice in his career. The only other pitcher he’s victimized multiple times? Clayton Kershaw. The homer was hit 416 feet and 112.5 MPH off the bat, the hardest-hit home run by a pitcher in the Statcast era.
Bumgarner also brought a perfect game into the sixth inning, but lost it with one out in the frame when Jeff Mathis tripled — yes, Jeff Mathis tripled — to left field. (Yes, to left field.)
In the seventh, Bumgarner tacked on his second homer of the game and No. 16 of his career, completely destroying a 92 MPH Andrew Chafin fastball.
That one left the bat at 112.1 MPH. He’s the first pitcher in baseball history to homer twice on Opening Day. He’s the first player at any position to homer multiple times on Opening Day since Barry Bonds in 2002 (via ESPN Stats & Info).
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.