On a team that boasts two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, it’s Madison Bumgarner who is pitching like the San Francisco Giants ace.
Bumgarner will try to get a measure of revenge for his only loss of the season and end the Giants’ eight-game skid against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night at Chase Field.
With Lincecum struggling, Bumgarner (5-1, 2.31 ERA) has stepped up. The 22-year-old left-hander, who went 13-13 with a 3.21 ERA last season, has won five straight starts and has a 1.25 ERA over the last three.
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Bumgarner will record the longest personal winning streak of his four-year career with a victory Friday. He helped the Giants (15-16) end a four-game losing streak Saturday against Milwaukee, giving up one run over seven innings and contributing an RBI double in the 5-2 victory.
“He’s the kind of guy I don’t want to face,” center fielder Angel Pagan said. “He’s very tough. When he’s on the mound every time, he’s like a lion, he’s ready to compete and win a ballgame.”
Bumgarner also has lessened the pressure on a struggling Giants offense, which scored five runs while losing two of three to the Los Angeles Dodgers this week.
San Francisco dropped the finale 6-2 on Wednesday after Lincecum allowed four runs in the fourth inning and the team recorded nine hits – eight singles. The Giants only have one homer over the past eight games, including seven since top hitter Pablo Sandoval (hand) went on the disabled list.
Bumgarner’s lone defeat came in Arizona on April 7, allowing four runs in four innings and surrendering two homers to Aaron Hill in a 5-4 loss.
The Diamondbacks (14-18) swept that three-game set and have won eight in a row between the teams for their longest win streak in this NL West rivalry since it began in 1998.
However, Arizona enters this series having matched a season high with five straight losses. It suffered a three-game sweep to St. Louis this week, getting outscored 22-9.
The Diamondbacks lost 7-2 on Wednesday. They trailed by one entering the ninth inning, but closer J.J. Putz gave up four runs. Putz has a 13.50 ERA in his last seven appearances.
Arizona left nine on base Wednesday and 26 in the series.
“We just got out-executed the whole series,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “They outpitched us. They outdefended us. They swung the bats better than we did. And we are happy to see them go.”
The Diamondbacks have scored three or fewer runs in five of the last seven games and are 7-14 since Chris Young went on the disabled list with a right shoulder contusion.
While Bumgarner will be happy not to have to face Young, who is 7 for 14 against him, he will have to pitch to Justin Upton, who is 7 for 10 with a double and a home run in the matchup.
The Diamondbacks counter with Patrick Corbin (1-1, 7.00), who is making his third major league start and first at home.
Corbin struggled Saturday against the New York Mets, allowing four runs in 3 1-3 innings of a 4-3 loss. The 22-year-old left-hander pitched into the sixth in his first start.
“It’s been a little overwhelming, but I’m starting to settle down and get used to some things,” Corbin told the Diamondbacks’ official website. “It’s exciting and I’m glad to be here, but it’s still baseball and you have to go out there and compete.”