Two days after he was unavailable to share in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the San Francisco Giants' 2012 World Series-winning team, left-hander Madison Bumgarner can expect a nice greeting when he opens the Arizona Diamondbacks' four-game series in San Francisco on Monday night.
Bumgarner (6-11, 4.13 ERA), who helped pitch the Giants to three championships over five years from 2010-14, left San Francisco as a free agent in December 2019.
He has since returned as the starting pitcher twice, suffering a 4-3 loss in September 2020 with no fans in the stands, and getting a no-decision in a 5-4 defeat last September.
Bumgarner has fared much better in the Giants' visits to Arizona, winning both head-to-heads there, including last month, when he allowed three runs in five innings in an 8-3 win.
The 33-year-old has gone 2-1 with a 4.29 ERA in four career starts against the Giants after going 119-92 with a 3.13 ERA in 289 games against everyone else as an 11-year member of the San Francisco organization.
Generally a disappointment in his three seasons in Arizona, Bumgarner had been considered available at the trade deadline. But the Diamondbacks wound up keeping the veteran, who still has two years remaining on a five-year, $85 million deal.
A team that had been expected to be in a serious sale mode at the deadline made just two relatively quiet moves, dealing right-hander Luke Weaver to the Kansas City Royals for third baseman Emmanuel Rivera, and outfielder David Peralta to the Tampa Bay Rays for minor-leaguer Christian Cerda.
Arizona has responded with eight wins in 12 games since trade-deadline day, something holdover Josh Rojas credits to a new stability on the roster.
"We're in a spot now where we've got a really tight-knit clubhouse," he observed. "Everybody knows their role. Nobody's upset when they're not in there. Everybody pretty much knows why they're where they're at. I think teams work best when they're like that."
In attempting to win for the first time in four starts, a stretch during which he's given up 13 earned runs and 26 hits in 17 2/3 innings, Bumgarner will see his former team riding high after it capped a three-game home sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates with a walk-off, 8-7 triumph on Sunday.
Thairo Estrada played the role of hero, hitting a one-out, two-run homer to rally the Giants from a 7-6 deficit.
"You don't expect a home run, but you probably should. He does hit homers in big spots," Giants manager Gabe Kapler said of Estrada. "It's kinda cool to see that happen for him. It was a signal that there's a lot of fight in that (locker) room."
Right-hander Alex Cobb (3-6, 4.15) is scheduled to start for the Giants in the series opener in an attempt to end a 12-start winless streak that dates to May 17.
Only five Giants have had a longer winless streak in a single season, including two who were honored Saturday with the 2012 squad -- Matt Cain (19 games in 2017, though that includes one hold) and Barry Zito (17 in 2013).
Cobb has pitched twice against the Diamondbacks this season with similar results, having allowed three earned runs and six hits over six innings in each outing. The 34-year-old has never beaten the Diamondbacks, going 0-1 with a 6.60 ERA in three career starts.
--Field Level Media