The San Francisco Giants are preparing to do something we haven’t seen around the baseball world since the Gerald Ford Administration.
Following the team’s third consecutive loss to the cross-bay rival Oakland Athletics, the Giants will be sending ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner to the mound on Thursday in an attempt to avoid a sweep.
No biggie, right?
That’s until we realize San Francisco will be giving up the designated hitter spot in the lineup in favor of Bumgarner.
Bumgarner will hit tomorrow. First time a manager intentionally gives up the DH since 1976
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) June 30, 2016
This little bit of information was confirmed by Giants manager Bruce Bochy on Wednesday evening. It represents just the second time since the inception of the designated hitter that a team has willingly decided to use a pitcher instead.
While this doesn’t necessarily bode well for the Giants’ confidence in their bench, it tells us more about what they believe Bumgarner can do from the plate.
The three-time All-Star has hit 11 homers and driven in 29 runs in 193 at-bats over the past three seasons. That’s one homer per 17.6 at-bats.
To put this into perspective, this would represent a pace of 34 homers for a regular position player.
It will definitely be interesting to see how this goes and where Bumgarner hits in the lineup. He’s found himself batting eighth multiple times over the past several years.
If he’s able to do something of substance, that will only enhance the pitcher’s hopes of taking part in the Home Run Derby this summer.
Then again, he’ll probably go 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Either way, this is a very intriguing decision from the Giants.