Madison Bumgarner was a little more than three years away
from taking his first breath in this world on June 16, 1986. I mention that date because it's when Jamie
Moyer made his major league debut as a 23-year-old starting pitcher with the
Now 22 and in his second full MLB season, Bumgarner opposes
the 49-year-old Moyer on Thursday when the San Francisco Giants and Colorado
Rockies finish their series at Coors Field.
Moyer will deliver the opening toss around 3:10 p.m. (ET) as a slight
underdog on the MLB odds. San Francisco opened at
-125 with a 9.5 total.
This series began Monday when Barry Zito and the Giants
home opener in a 7-0 decision. Zito was
nothing short of outstanding in delivering the season's first complete game
performance (and his first shutout in 274 starts) to cash for San Fran backers
who were at +150 on the MLB moneyline.
After taking Tuesday off, the series resumed Wednesday with the Giants
-125 and a 9-run total. The Rockies broke out to a 6-0 lead against Tim Lincecum,
watched that advantage disappear but got it back and then some in a 17-8 Coors
We're going to be hearing old Jamie Moyer all season, mostly because it isn't normal for a
guy who will turn 50 this November to still be pitching in the majors. In fact, it's so abnormal, if Moyer wins
Thursday afternoon, he will become the oldest pitcher in MLB history to record
a victory. That is until he wins again,
when he will be even older than he is on Thursday.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy
noted this spring when he announced Moyer would begin the year as the second
arm in the rotation, "It's the same Jamie Moyer. It's the same worker, the same professional.
It's the same velocity, the same pitches."
Teammate Jason Giambi added his own remarks about Moyer's
velocity. "He's got that 80 mile per hour heater. OK, it's more like a cooler."
Moyer's 'heater/cooler' didn't impress Houston's ragtag bunch last Saturday when the
Astros touched him for four runs and a pair of homers in handing the lefty a
7-3 loss. We should remember, however,
that Moyer was working on 626 days of rests between major league starts, so a
little rust should've been expected.
Age isn't the only big difference between Moyer and
Bumgarner, who many believe could prove to be San Francisco's ace by season's end. Bumgarner is still developing a repertoire
that includes a fastball which reaches the low-to-mid 90s and a hard
slider. Two more pitches in his bag are
a short curve and straight change. While
he mixes and matches four pitches ranging 12-15 mph apart, Moyer's three speeds
are slow, slower, slowest.
Bumgarner left a couple of fastballs up in his first start
and Aaron Hill deposited both in the bleachers to accent a 5-4 Diamondbacks win. That game closed around a pick on the
baseball betting board and left the Giants winless in Bumgarner's six career
April assignments. San Francisco has
done OK with him on the mound vs. the Rocks, winning four of seven with
Bumgarner's ERA sitting way down there at 2.05 (1-2, 3.50 at Coors).
If there's a batter in Colorado's lineup Bumgarner has to be
especially careful against, it's Carlos Gonzalez. Of course, CarGo gives a lot of pitchers
fits, and he's 5 for 14 lifetime vs. Bumgarner with a pair of dingers. Moyer's
nemesis in San Fran's order is Aubrey Huff, 9 for 23 lifetime with three long
A sunny afternoon in the mid-60s and a nice breeze from left
to right makes up the forecast. If
you're looking for an umpire angle, Ron Kulpa should be south of the dish for
Thursday's game and will be making his 14th plate assignment at Coors
Field. Seven of the previous 13 have
gone OVER, with one push on a 10 run total.
Nine of the 13 have seen at least 10 runs scored, though that does date
back into baseball Steroids Era.
Taking a Chance: It's a
pitching mismatch on paper in 'stuff' that each starter brings to the mound.
But among Moyer's five appearances and four spring starts was a 12-up, 12-down
showing against this San Fran lineup, the only real regular missing being
Buster Posey. The clubs are coming off a
25-run, nearly four hour event on Wednesday, and one thing that bothers me
about each team is their early fielding woes.
The Giants and Rockies rank at the very bottom of the majors in
fielding, with the G-Men last after booting another three balls and allowing
four more unearned runs last night.
Let's follow the umpire's tendencies in this park and go OVER 9 as part of our MLB picks for today.