Monday gave us more of the same. Puig grounded out to end the seventh, and when the players’ paths crossed, MadBum all but lost it. “Don’t look at me!” he yelled at the startled hitter over and over, even as Bumgarner himself initiated a staredown. Puig responded in kind and, again, benches emptied.
Maybe Puig was giving Bumgarner the stink eye, maybe he wasn’t. It didn’t matter either way—the left-hander was clearly looking for some extra-curricular action.
Bumgarner was fired up, having just finished his seventh inning of one-hit, no-walk, 10-strikeout ball in a must-win game, after having put up a 5.30 ERA over his previous six starts. This was clearly an extension of that, and it seems to have worked—right up until Bruce Bochy decided to pinch-hit for the pitcher the very next inning (to keep him out of harm’s way from a retaliatory fastball?) after which San Francisco’s bullpen blew another ninth-inning lead).
Bumgarner has gotten into it over the years with the likes of Wil Myers, Jason Heyward, Delino Deshields, Jesus Guzman and Carlos Gomez. There are few common threads between them save for the pitcher’s perpetually red ass. Somehow, none of those confrontations extended past the shouting phase.
This is simply how Bumgarner motivates himself, and it seems to pay pretty good dividends. Does it make him an asshole? Sure. Does he gave two snots about that? Not one freaking bit.
To the Dodgers’ credit, they had some fun with it the next day:
Puig himself even went so far as to sign a shirt, including the sentiments “#PuigYourFriend” and “I like you,” before sending it to Bumgarner in the Giants clubhouse.