SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner can become a bit expressive when he's not getting the corners, but he's not unlike most pitchers. He might show it more, but you'll find a few guys on every staff who are working the umpires all night long, asking where a certain pitch was or showing their disdain for a missed call.
Where Bumgarner has always been different is in the batter's box, and rarely has that been more apparent than in Friday's 8-3 win over the Padres. Dinelson Lamet, San Diego's starter, seemed wholly uninterested in having competitive at-bats. He waived weakly at a few pitches while striking out in the third and then popped up a bunt two innings later.
On the other side, Bumgarner struck out three times, but he clawed his way through each at-bat. After getting called out on a check swing in the second, he asked home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez why he didn't show him the same courtesy he would a hitter and ask the first base umpire for his determination. He took a called strike three in the fourth and stood in the box for a couple extra beats, clearly annoyed that he didn't get the bat off his shoulder.
After an outside pitch was called a strike in Bumgarner's third at-bat, he threw his head back in disbelief. When he swung through a fastball to end the inning, Bumgarner flipped his bat and angrily snapped his batting gloves off.
Madison Bumgarner vs. home plate ump Manny Gonzalez is the best part of this game: pic.twitter.com/rCcxpohloX— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 31, 2019
"That's who he is," manager Bruce Bochy said later, smiling. "He's into every facet of the game."
It's here that we should probably mention that Bumgarner threw seven dominant innings, struck out nine and got his ninth win of the season and 60th at Oracle Park. Bochy has been here for all of them, and the experience never gets old. Neither does watching Bumgarner grab a bat and fight through a plate appearance like he's the cleanup hitter. Bumgarner will battle you for every call, whether he's on the mound or in the box.
"I know I get calls, too. You're going to get calls against you and you're going to get calls for you both pitching and hitting, but it don't mean you're any more OK with it (when they're missed)," he said. "That's just part of the game. I don't want it to change. I'm not into the robot umpire bull---t. I'm not trying to say that. I like that part of the game. Sometimes it works for you and sometimes it doesn't."
Bumgarner's contributions at the plate have always been part of his legacy. He's not piling up numbers quite like he used to, but he's as competitive as ever. There are nights when he looks more annoyed by missed calls when he's hitting than he does by the ones on pitches he throws. Which ones actually do get to him more?
"I'm pretty much annoyed at all of them," he said. "I don't think there's any difference. I take both of them serious. I don't think I can say I get more upset with one or the other. I might show it a little more hitting, but that's maybe not true at all."
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Some nights he shows it on the mound, some nights at the plate. It's one of the many things Bochy will miss about his longtime ace when he heads for retirement. Bumgarner did more than enough on the mound to lead the Giants to a needed win, but he wasn't willing to give even an inch when it was his turn to dig in at the plate.
"That's what makes him so good," Bochy said. "He's never satisfied."