Madison Bumgarner returned and he was pretty darn good

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Madison Bumgarner made his return to games that matter last night, allowing two runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and issuing no walks over six innings against the Diamondbacks.

He lost, but for that you can blame Patrick Corbin who held the Giants to one run while he was in the game. Or blame the Giants who missed a good many scoring chances and then saw their would-be ninth inning rally peter out a run short. It happens. No man is an island in baseball. Not even the starter.

The loss notwithstanding, the Giants have to feel pretty good about getting Bumgarner back. Despite having only two minor league rehab appearances, their ace did not look like he was rusty, throwing 82 pitches, 58 of which were strikes.

Next up for Bumgarner will be the Marlins on Monday. Gotta like his odds to get in the win column there.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.