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Giants Bummed over Bumgarner’s Growing ERA

May 7, 2013, 3:32 PM EDT

Madison Bumgarner AP

Heading into last night’s 6-2 loss to the Phillies, San Francisco lefthander Madison Bumgarner was 3-0, and had not allowed more than two runs in six starts – good for a 1.55 earned run average. Afterwards, his Bumgarner’s record was no longer spotless, and his ERA increased to 2.31. One of those the Giants are hoping to have changed.

Via CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly, the team has petitioned Major League Baseball to have his ERA reduced. The basis? That Erik Kratz’s second inning single should have been ruled an error.

There were just two pieces of news to pass along from the postgame clubhouse, and they both concerned Bumgarner, who hadn’t allowed more than two runs in a start till he got charged with five in six innings.

We say “charged” because the Giants are sending a tape of the second inning to the league office, hoping for a scoring change on Eric Kratz’s single. Second baseman Marco Scutaro said he got caught between stepping on the base and flipping to shortstop Brandon Crawford for a forceout. He ended up doing neither. It should’ve been an error, in my determination – and that was the original call. But the scorer changed it to a hit and wouldn’t consider looking at it again.

All three runs in the second inning would’ve been unearned. And instead of a 2.31 ERA, Bumgarner would have a 1.73 ERA. That might make a difference come Cy Young ballot time, if the left-hander has the kind of season that the Giants believe he’s capable of having.

The league almost never overturns these appeals, so don’t hold your breath. But in general, it’s good for players to see that the organization has their back on these things.

The question is whether Scutaro would have definitely made an out had he exchanged the ball cleanly or thrown it to first. The reason he tried to flip the ball from his glove to Crawford was because Mayberry was already near the bag, and considering how off-balance Scutaro appeared to be it wasn’t a given he was even going to be able to throw out a slow runner like Kratz.

If all of this sounds like a 23 year old crying over spilled milk – after all we are talking about how three runs might make a difference on a Cy Young ballot in May – it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Baggarly did say there were two notes to pass along, the second being about Bumgarner battling home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez most of the night over the strike zone.

The other point about Bumgarner’s outing was that he really had the bull snorts going over plate umpire Alfonso Marquez’s strike zone. It did seem like he wasn’t getting the high strike.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he went onto the field when he saw Bumgarner talking to Marquez after an inning, fearing he might have to go save his pitcher from himself.

“I knew the frustration was building,” Bochy said. “But they were having a conversation. That’s all.”

The strike zone seemed fine to me for the most part, granted while watching on TV – except for when Cliff Lee seemed to throw strike three right down the middle to Hunter Pence in the bottom of the second. Pence smashed a solo home run on the very next pitch, but you didn’t notice Cliff getting overly huffy about what could have been an important non-call.

Instead the 2008 Cy Young Award winner quietly went about his business, tossing another gem in San Fran.

>> Giants appeal to save Bumgarner’s ERA [CSN Bay]