It was the play that changed the series. After the first two Nationals reached in a scoreless game in the seventh inning Monday, Wilson Ramos dropped down a bunt. Madison Bumgarner grabbed the ball and then immediately whirled and threw wildly to third. Pablo Sandoval couldn’t make the grab, the ball got mixed up in the bullpen down the left-field line and both baserunners came around to score, putting the Giants in a 2-0 hole. Asdrubal Cabrera went on to single Ramos in from third to make it a 3-0 game. The Nationals ended up winning 4-1 to stay alive and send the NLDS to a Game 4 on Tuesday.
But you probably already knew all of that. What you might not have known was that catcher Buster Posey was at the root of the whole mess.
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As can be heard in the video, “three” is yelled before Bumgarner even picks up the ball. Unless I’ve completely lost my mind, that’s Posey doing the yelling, telling Bumgarner where he needs to go with throw. That’s the catcher’s job in these instances, and it’s the pitcher’s responsibility to follow through; he’s not going to take the time to survey the field himself.
Bumgarner, of course, is still responsible for his bad throw on the play. But it’s Posey who made the wrong call in the first place; even if Bumgarner had made a good throw, Ian Desmond was going to be safe at third on the bunt. The play was at first base all along.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”