Madison Bumgarner’s big error not all his fault

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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.

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.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.