By: Jake Kucheck
When an MLB team is finishing off June with a plethora of injuries and a 3 game skid against your fairly terrible cross-town rival, it is usually cause for concern. Sure, a 6 game division lead over the hated Dodgers is nice, but it certainly isn’t safe at this point, not with Hunter Pence, Joe Panik and Matt Duffy all on the DL. Among the many things the Giants do well, though, is getting unexpected production from unexpected sources at unexpected times. The names Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross, Ryan Theriot and Travis Ishikawa might be examples that come to mind that fit this narrative, but one that probably doesn’t is Madison Bumgarner. We know MadBum is great. We expect him to be great. And we also expect snot rockets. We’ve even started to irrationally expect dingers.
Or maybe not. For the first time in recent history, an NL team playing in an AL park is going to eschew their DH and let MadBum hit for himself. And why not? He has been incredible. With 13 career home runs, including two off Clayton Kershaw, Bumgarner has been ridiculously productive in a ridiculously small sample size.
While this is not altogether unprecedented, the last time a team intentionally eschewed the DH was in 1976. While Bumgarner has recently been lobbying to participate in the home run derby (which would be amazing) and has pinch hit as recently as last year, this move is probably as much about the Giants lack of hitting depth as it does about MadBum’s hitting prowess.
In fact, in a lineup that will likely feature both Ramiro Pena and Ruben Tejada, perhaps it would make more sense to have a DH for one of them in addition to letting MadBum hit. That would make for one heck of an interesting lineup… that might look something like this:
Belt – 1B
Posey- DH (for… Tejada, I guess?)
Now wouldn’t that be fun?