Former Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers ace Jack Morris said he sees a lot of similarities between himself and Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner.
That’s part of the reason Morris, who had one of the most memorable Game 7 pitching performances in World Series history, said he thought Bumgarner could have started Wednesday against the Royals. Tim Hudson started for the Giants, and Bumgarner relieved in the fifth inning, with the Giants ahead 3-2, after Hudson was pulled in the second inning.
Bumgarner earned the win, his third of the Series, allowing two hits over five scoreless innings. He threw 68 pitches, 50 for strikes.
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“I think he could’ve pitched 12 innings today,” Morris said before the game.
It hardly mattered that Bumgarner had thrown 117 pitches in a complete-game shutout in Game 5 on Sunday.
During the 1991 Series against Atlanta, Morris started the first, fourth and seventh games and pitched a 10-inning shutout in the Twins’ 1-0 win in the decisive game. Morris said during batting practice Wednesday he believed Bumgarner has the physical ability – and the right temperament – to do something similar.
“He’s a man’s man,” Morris said. “He’s big, he’s strong, he’s mentally tough. He has great mechanics, and he knows how to pitch. And he’s the one that’s shined a step above everybody in this whole postseason.”
Morris said he understands Bochy’s decision not to start Bumgarner, who had thrown 265 innings in the regular season and playoffs, but he would have liked to see what Bumgarner could have done.
“I feel bad for Boch,” Morris said. “I just feel like he was kind of between a rock and a hard place. He’s loyal to Timmy Hudson. Timmy’s had a great career, this is his one crack at his own stardom. And he wants the best for him.
“I know in his heart he wishes he could start his ace. So what do you do?”
Balboni loyal to Giants
Giants advance scout Steve Balboni, 57, was a key member of the last Royals team to win a World Series championship, when Kansas City beat the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985.
Like this year’s, that Series went to seven games. Unlike 1985, Balboni has been only a spectator this time.
“It’s tough to watch because you have no control,” Balboni said before Game 7. “You’re just watching, pulling for the team. It’s great to see them make it this far, but you’re just hoping that it goes all the way.”
In the 1985 Series, Balboni went 8 for 25 (.320) with three RBIs after hitting 36 regular-season home runs, still a franchise record. Balboni said he has fond memories of that season and team, but his emotions were not torn watching this year’s Series.
“It would have been better if it wasn’t at the same time – if it had happened another year, I would’ve pulled for the Royals,” Balboni said. “I’m happy for the city and everything. But I mean, my emotions are with San Francisco. That’s who I’m with now.”
▪ Both managers seemed loose before the game. In his office, Bochy was asked what he might say to the Giants before the game. “Win one for the Gipper.”
Royals manager Ned Yost said he had “slept pretty good” Tuesday night. “Mostly on my right side,” Yost said, “but pretty good.”
▪ Bochy made one change to his lineup, starting Juan Perez in left field instead of Travis Ishikawa. Bochy said he wanted his best defensive lineup, but added: “The kid (Perez) keeps going out there and getting hits. We’re not just getting defense. We’re getting a guy who’s swinging the bat well.” Perez made a nice catch for the second out in the fifth inning.