With the Giants already down 1-0 in the NLDS, Jeff Samardzija was rightly yanked after just two innings tonight, having given up four runs on six hits.
Juggling a bullpen and a bench that have both left something to be desired in recent months, Bruce Bochy turned to his most reliable postseason hero, Madison Bumgarner, to pinch hit in the top of the fifth. The last pitcher to pinch hit in the postseason was Homer Bailey in 2012, but the Giants haven’t used a pitcher in that position since 1924, when Jack Bentley pinch hit against the Senators.
Bumgarner’s 14 career homers (three this season) lead all active pitchers, and this wasn’t the first time he’d pinch hit. But beyond that, Bochy had reason to believe that Madbum would deliver. Apparently, Game 3's projected starting pitcher had been raking dingers all during batting practice earlier in the afternoon.
(Plus, under the category Pitcher Dingers, the Cubs’ reliever Travis Wood had just homered in the previous frame.)
So did the October demigod go long? Not quite. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant bumbled a hard-hit ball, allowing Bumgarner to reach first, and then threw the ball into the dugout, allowing Bumgarner to advance to second. All in all: two errors and two bases on the play. Not exactly a conventional pinch hit, and, ultimately, not particularly productive as he was left stranded on base. Still, if you’ve got “contribute offensively” on your Bumgarner Bingo, I think this counts.