The American League won, but the two best pitching performances came from the National League last night.
First was Jacob deGrom, who struck out the AL on ten pitches in the sixth inning, placing his fastball wherever he wanted it and making dudes look silly. Watch:
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The second was Aroldis Chapman, who was given the top of the ninth by manager Bruce Bochy. He threw 14 pitches. He too struck out the side. Twelve of those pitches topped 100 m.p.h. Which is sort of a thing he does:
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Giving these guys one inning to air it out after a day off on Monday and the knowledge that they won’t have to pitch again until Friday is basically no fair. It’s especially no fair to let a guy who normally has to pace himself as a starter like deGrom to go full blast for one inning.
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.”