SAN FRANCISCO -- For a couple of springs, Madison Bumgarner experimented with an extremely slow curveball. He would mix it in sometimes in games, but it never became a regular part of his repertoire.
Perhaps Bumgarner will be inspired to use it more after watching Pablo Sandoval's do-everything performance Monday. Sandoval had a Bumgarner-like day, in a way, throwing the slowest pitch of the day on the mound in a scoreless inning but also recording the highest exit velocity of a game the Giants lost 12-4.
Here's a rundown of his strange day:
--- With the Giants getting blown out, Sandoval pitched for the second time in two years. He hit a batter but threw a nice sinker down and away to get a double-play grounder from Nick Senzel that ended the inning. Once again, Sandoval was remarkably efficient.
A year ago, Sandoval needed just 11 pitches to pitch a scoreless inning against the Dodgers. On Monday he threw just 10 pitches, the slowest at 68 mph and the fastest at 84. That was a bit short of the 88 mph fastball he threw to Yasmani Grandal last year, but he still has that 0.00 ERA.
--- Sandoval's third homer of the year left the yard at 107.8 mph, easily the hardest-hit ball of the day. The two balls put in play against him were hit 88.4 mph and 86.5 mph.
--- To cap it all off, Sandoval stole third early in the game when the Reds had a shift on. It was his first stolen base in seven years and his first ever steal of third. The only previous time he even tried was in 2011.