MILWAUKEE - Even with the Giants 13 games under .500 and 14 out in the division, Madison Bumgarner is working hard to make it back on schedule. Before Wednesday's game, Bumgarner said he feels better every day, and he noted that it's a bit easier to rehab given what another lefty is doing.
Asked about Ty Blach, who had won four straight coming into the day, Bumgarner said it's "been really fun to watch."
"He took (the job) and ran with it," Bumgarner said.
It's now clear that the two will soon be running side by side. Whenever Bumgarner returns, Blach will have nothing else to prove. Even after his worst outing in a month, manager Bruce Bochy heaped praise, noting that Blach showed good stuff into the sixth inning of a 6-3 loss and pitched better than his final numbers.
When a reporter asked if Blach has shown he's a big league starter and worthy of staying in the rotation when Bumgarner returns in late July or early August, Bochy had a quick answer.
"Oh I think so," Bochy said. "You have to look at the job he's done. He didn't walk a guy (tonight), he has good command and his stuff is good, too. That doesn't get talked about but he's got good velocity and movement on his changeup. The thing I like about him is he doesn't get rattled. They throw a ball at his head and the next pitch he gets right in there and lays down a perfect bunt. This is who this kid is.
"He's a major league starter."
Blach gave up five earned in six innings, but he didn't get much help from his outfield defense, and he wasn't bailed out by a lineup that doesn't take advantage of hitter's parks. The Giants had all three of their runs in one inning, two coming on a deep Buster Posey homer.
The rest of the night was a familiar story, and Blach paid for two misplays in left by Orlando Calixte, part of the newest wave to get a shot out there. With the Giants up 3-1, Jesus Aguilar hit a single to left-center that Calixte overran. Aguilar scored from second on Travis Shaw's single. Shaw went to third when Calixte appeared to misjudge Hernan Perez's liner to left that dropped for a double, and he scored on a sacrifice fly.
Bochy said he would have to go back and look at the Perez ball. He doesn't need a second look to know left field remains a huge issue. Calixte was 0 for 3, dropping his average to .167, and he hit into a double play. Bochy said he's not sure who will start in left on Thursday, as Austin Slater has also struggled with the promotion.
"We've got to get these guys to relax," Bochy said. "Trust me, they're good players. I don't know why they're pressing. We've got to get these guys to settle down. We need some help there. We need one of those kids to come up and get hot. It's just been a black hole for us. We've got to get somebody to step up and take that job."