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SCOTTSDALE Ivan Nova Jersey , Ariz. (AP) — Madison Bumgarner’s line from his exhibition debut didn’t look good, but the pitcher and San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy weren’t daunted.“It’s been five months since I’ve faced a hitter,” Bumgarner said Sunday. “I’d say that’s the best I’ve felt, especially in a first spring outing, in quite some time.”Bumgarner was sharp in the first inning and retired the Chicago Cubs in order on eight pitches. He failed, however, to retire any of the six batters he faced in a 29-pitch second inning and all six eventually scored.Kyle Schwarber doubled to open the second and Addison Russell singled before Bumgarner hit David Bote on the helmet with a pitch to load the bases. Bote dropped to one knee but was able to walk off under his own power.“It was a weird play because the ball was not on top of him,” Giants catcher Rene Rivera said. “It looked like his head was over the plate and that’s when it hit it. It squared him up pretty good. He lost his balance and I tried to hold him a little bit.”Bote was examined by the Giants medical staff and was to be checked by the Cubs staff at the team’s facility.“Obviously, I don’t want to do that,” Bumgarner said. “That’s terrible. … I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing stuff and moving on to the next thing. That didn’t affect me. I am sorry for it.”Bumgarner gave up three more hits — although two were groundballs on plays that should’ve been made — before he was lifted.“He got ahead and allowed two-strike hits, a couple plays we didn’t make,” Bochy said. “It was one of those Cactus League innings. I was very pleased with where he was with his stuff. He got ground balls and they hit the hole a couple times. Overall, he got us where he could and felt great.”The 29-year-old Bumgarner is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he was slowed by injuries, making 17 starts in 2017 and 21 last year. He suffered a fractured left hand last March when he was hit by a line drive and said he’s fully recovered from that injury and his grip feels strong. The radar gun showed one of his fastballs at 93 mph, which also is encouraging.“I felt really good,” Bumgarner said. “My command in the zone could be a little better and it’s going to get better as we go here. For the first day, I was pretty excited about it. I felt good. A little tough luck with some ground balls there being just out of reach of some guys. It’s weird to say but I”m not concerned about that at all. It’s about how you feel, how you bounce back after the first inning and getting your work in.”“He wanted to keep the ball on the ground and he did,” Rivera said. “He did exactly what we wanted. It was good placement for them.”Rivera knows a little about Bumgarner from his few at-bats against the 2014 World Series MVP.“The last time I remember facing him was 2016 in the wild-card game and I was with the Mets,” Rivera said. “He did a hell of a job, complete game. When it comes to an important game http://www.piratesfanproshop.com/authent...ell-jersey , he’s going to be there.”Bumgarner threw a four-hit complete game in the Giants’ win over the Mets, with Rivera getting one of those hits. The catcher also hit a three-run homer off Bumgarner on April 28, 2014, in the fifth inning of a 6-4 Padres win over the Giants.But that’s in the past. On Sunday, Rivera and Bumgarner were on the same team.“He’s a pretty simple guy,” Rivera said. “He just attacks the zone. Let’s see what he’s going to do.”NOTES: Pablo Sandoval tweaked his side during Saturday’s workout and will be shut down for a couple days, Bochy said. … Joe Panik went 3 for 3, including a solo home run in the third, in the Giants’ 9-5 loss to the Cubs. “I felt comfortable right from the first at-bat,” Panik said. “Obviously, it’s always a process in spring training but I was feeling a good rhythm at the plate, and that’s all you can ask for.” … Buster Posey is not expected to catch until March 1 but could get at-bats as the designated hitter before that. Posey is coming off surgery to address a hip impingement and repair a torn labrum. He was expected to be ready by opening day. In the opening salvo for the series, we give the worm to the early bird, the first email we received from emailer John.I noticed Kauffman is generally listed as a neutral park (hitter v. pitcher)...."In the opening salvo for the series, we give the worm to the early bird, the first email we received from emailer John.I noticed Kauffman is generally listed as a neutral park (hitter v. pitcher). I’ve always believed it is a pitcher’s park, but the Royals had such bad pitching for so long that the numbers skewed more to the middle as a result. If you can look into it I’d greatly appreciate it! Thanks!This is definitely an often disconnect you hear vs what you read. Now John mentions that perhaps it’s the Royals pitchers that skew those numbers, but we should quickly go over how park factors work, via FanGraphs:As FanGraphs points out, we care about both a pitcher/hitters home and away games, to get a full view Brad Hand Jersey , so unless a pitcher is just bad at home and bad away, it will all be fixed in the numbers from the high level view. So park factors should notice a team pitches well at home but bad away and then see that something is probably helping them.For now, let’s look at the park factors for Kauffman Stadium we can find (typically 1 or 100 is average):FanGraphs: 101 (5yr), 102 (3yr), 103 (1yr)Rotographs: 1.02 ESPN: 1.06Fantasy Pros: 1.05Baseball Prospectus: 100Baseball Reference: 101By all sources, Kauffman Stadium is at a minimum neutral, with a few sites leaning towards hitter friendly/pitcher unfriendly. But we always hear about Kauffman being a good pitchers park, which is both true and not. Park Factors per FanGraphsSome things that should pop out to you:At one time in the early 2000s, Kauffman was firmly a hitters park after the fences were moved in in 1995. In 2004 though, they were moved back, and a the area behind home plate was reduced slightly. Then of course in 2009 came the big aesthetic renovations that also saw left and right centerfield move back an additional two feet.Graphics via Andrew Clem at http://www.andrewclem.comAs you would expect, the fence moves in 2004 killed home runs in the park, a full 14 point swing from peak to trough (2000 to 2006), making Kauffman now one of the worst home runs parks in baseball.So we know that Kauffman Stadium is where fly balls go to die in the American League, so what makes up all that ground? Kauffman has historically been very good for hits outside of home runs. Even though it compressed a bit in the early-00s, once the walls were moved back it became a semi-hitters paradise for singles, doubles, and triples. This is due to Kauffman have one of the largest in play areas in baseball:Calculations per Scott Bailey30% of the time in 2018, when any batter at Kauffman put a ball in play (including home runs) it went for a single, double, or triple. That’s amongst the top five rates in the league by venue.Another way to look at it is that just 35% of all home runs allowed at Kauffman were under 400 feet http://www.padresfanproshop.com/authenti...and-jersey , the 2nd lowest rate in the league. Meaning to hit a home run at Kauffman, 65% of the time you needed to hit it further than 400 feet, as opposed to Houston where you only needed to hit the ball 400+ feet for a homerun 32% of the time.Looking around the league, the distribution for parks and their respective overall factors aren’t even either.There are more neutral to pitcher friendly parks than hitter friendly parks.On aggregate, the NL East is the “easiest” division to pitch in and the NL West is the hardest when you look at park factors. This perhaps challenges the notion that the AL East is the toughest environment to play, when it really isn’t much more challenging than the NL or AL Central.Now John also asks about the Royals pitchers, and I’m here to tell you that last year the Royals pitchers just give up home runs regardless of where they played:2018Home: 102 allowedAway: 103 allowedBut it varied in the prior years2017Home: 86 allowedAway: 110 allowed2016Home: 91 allowedAway: 115 allowed2015Home: 68 allowedAway: 87 allowedSo something was in the water in 2018 that caused all the home runs to be allowed regardless of geography. And by something I mean baseballs and by water I mean the various fountains and pools across major league stadiums that Ian Kennedy, Danny Duffy, and Jake Junis played in.As an ancillary thought, how about how Royals hitters fared home and away in regards to hits?2018Home: 456 1B 157 2B 18 3B 67 HRAway: 427 1B 126 2B 11 3B 88 HR2017Home: 463 1B 135 2B 13 3B 88 HRAway: 496 1B 125 2B 11 3B 105 HR2016Home: 513 1B 148 2B 23 3B 64 HRAway: 493 1B 116 2B 10 3B 83 HRYear in and year out, Royals batters hit more home runs away from Kauffman and more 1B/2B/3B at Kauffman. Now maybe this is an answer for an entirely different question/article, but how do opposing hitters do at Kauffman for home runs?2018Royals: 67 HR Opponents: 103 HR2017Royals: 88 HROpponents: 86 HR2016:Royals: 64 HROpponents: 91 HR2015Royals: 62 HROpponents: 68 HR2014Royals: 43 HROpponents: 59 HRSo typically, Royals opponents have out-homered them, often by a fair margin. That speaks to mainly the Royals roster construction than the park.In summary, Kauffman plays down home runs heavily, but plays up doubles and triples while being neutral to singles. It’s pretty poor for batters hitting infield fly balls given all the room it has. You would also think that since there is decent foul ball area given the overall size of the field of play, strikeouts would be more since there is more room for foul balls that would otherwise be in play at other stadiums (like Fenway).
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