SAN DIEGO -- Some will say the wheels fell off for the San Francisco Giants after ace Madison Bumgarner tumbled from his dirt bike.
Bumgarner (0-3, 3.00 ERA) faces the San Diego Padres on Saturday night in his first outing in three months. The Giants standout missed most the first half of the season with a sprained left shoulder, the result of his motorcycle mishap on April 20.
It'll be a treat for San Francisco to see the 2014 World Series MVP back on the mound as the Giants go for their second straight win. They are buried in the National League West cellar and any hopes of returning to respectability will hinge partly on Bumgarner's pitching.
"(I'm) ready to help contribute, like I should have been doing this whole time," Bumgarner told mlb.com after his final rehab start.
Bumgarner landed on the disabled list for the first time, getting hurt on a Giants off day. The Giants, who went to the playoffs last year, have been off-kilter since.
"It was an unfortunate incident he feels terrible about," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's seemed a lot longer than it's been for him, as far as his return."
In his first start back, Bumgarner will try to do something he hasn't done in his last three starts against the Padres: win. Bumgarner has lost three straight and his last four outings against San Diego. He has been knocked around pretty good, losing all three of his decisions and pitching to a 4.73 ERA.
But all that is overshadowed by the competitive southpaw taking the mound again.
"You've got one of your guys back, his intensity, his presence, all that," Bochy said.
The Padres will counter with right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, hoping he can continues a good run of outings. Chacin has won four of his last six starts since June 9. In each of those outings, he has surrendered two-or-fewer runs.
Lifetime against the Giants, Chacin is 7-6 with a 3.33 ERA.
"I think for the most part Jhoulys has been pretty solid for us all year long," Padres manager Andy Green said. "But his slider has played really well his last couple of starts."
Chacin's previous two times out, both wins, were impressive.
He held the Philadelphia Phillies to one run and three hits in 6 1/3 innings in the Padres' road-series win leading up to the All-Star break.
Before that against the sizzling Los Angeles Dodgers, Chacin pitched five scoreless innings, dinged for only four hits.
Green said what stood out in that game was Chacin's motivation to shine, even if he wasn't sharp.
"He's one of the few guys who has beaten the Dodgers in probably the last three weeks," Green said. "And in that start against L.A. there was a will to win there that you appreciate. Even though it really wasn't his best stuff that day, he just wasn't going to get beat."
Everyone, it seems, is beating the Giants. But maybe the return of Bumgarner, who is 10-8 lifetime against the Padres, give them back the swagger that the three-time World Series championship club once possessed.