Bruce Bochy, manager of the San Francisco Giants, announced after Wednesday’s game that Madison Bumgarner will hit for himself in Oakland on Thursday, which means a designated hitter will not be used. Bochy will join Joe Maddon as the only two managers to forfeit their DH in the starting lineup since 1976. However, Maddon, with the Rays, was forced to forfeit his DH after he mistakenly wrote in Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist at third base.
Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area:
Bochy said Bumgarner will hit tomorrow, no DH.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) June 30, 2016
With all the talk about Bumgarner partaking in the Home Run Derby, he gets to hit in an AL park. He hasn’t always been a good hitter, per se, until a couple seasons ago though. Since 2014 he has a 102 wRC+ with 11 home runs in 205 plate appearances, which is the best among pitchers. He has essentially been a league average hitter and an elite hitter among pitchers.
This is a fun move, but it’s not the correct one. Not only does it risk injury, if Bumgarner can’t last the complete game then the Giants will be at a major disadvantage. The Oakland Athletics will have nine hitters while the Giants will have to deal with the pitcher’s spot. Baserunning isn’t a problem for Bumgarner; he has a negative 0.1 BSR since 2014 because he’s only been on base 44 times. Some options that were possibly passed up for the DH spot include Trevor Brown, Jarrett Parker, and Gregor Blanco.
Rookie lefty Dillon Overton is starting for Oakland tomorrow and Bumgarner has had some success against lefties (via MLB):
The San Francisco Giants are six games up on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West, but they’ve recently been hit with an overabundance of injuries. Hunter Pence, Joe Panik, Matt Duffy, Kelby Tomlinson, Ehire Adrianza, Sergio Romo are all on the disabled list and Ramiro Pena is out 5-7 days after colliding with Mac Williamson Wednesday night.
We’ll find out Thursday if this was a genius or an unwise decision.