SAN DIEGO -- The stakes are nowhere near as high as they were this past October. But in one of the early glamour pitching matchups of the still young 2015 regular season, Padres right-hander James Shields is scheduled to face Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner on Saturday evening at Petco Park.
"It's going to create a lot of interest, I know that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said on Friday before his club played the second game of a four-game set against the Padres. "It's hard to believe it's happening already this early in the season. It was maybe six games ago, counting these and the World Series, since they matched up against each other.
"But, hey, it's good for baseball. I think fans are going to have fun with it. Those are two good pitchers going at it. I look forward to it."
Using Bochy's measuring stick it was actually seven games ago, to be precise.
The two hooked up twice this past fall in the World Series when Shields was still with the Royals. Bumgarner got the best of Shields, winning Games 1 and 5. Bumgarner then went on to pitch the final five innings of Game 7 in relief to earn the save and lock up the series.
Bumgarner gave up one earned run in his three appearances and was named series MVP as the Giants won it all for the third time in five years.
"Bumgarner helped carry us to a championship last year," Bochy said. "So he got the best of quite a few guys."
Shields didn't fair so well. He allowed seven runs and 15 hits in nine innings, losing twice to the Giants, most of that damage coming in a 7-1, Game 1 loss at Kauffman Stadium. In that one he gave up five runs on seven hits in three innings. In Game 5 at AT&T Park, Shields matched up against Bumgarner and left trailing 2-0 after six innings in a game the Giants went on to win, 5-0.
Now they'll be back at it again.
"It's a great matchup," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Two of the best pitchers in the National League. Two marquee guys."
Shields parlayed his 2014 season with Kansas City -- 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA -- to sign a four-year deal with the Padres that guarantees him $75 million. Saturday will be his first home game pitching for the Padres. So about the Giants, there really isn't any unfinished business.
"This is a new team, new season," Shields said. "My job is to go out there and get a win for the team and set us out on the right foot here."
"The familiarity helps," Shields said. "We faced them during the season last year as well. Their team is definitely different, for sure. Hunter Pence [broken forearm] isn't in the lineup. But they brought in some new guys. You can't take them lightly. The fact of the matter is that they know how to win over there."
And right now that all starts with Bumgarner, who was 18-10 with a 2.98 ERA last season before compiling a 4-1 record in the postseason. Overall, he threw 270 innings and made 39 starts.
Bumgarner picked right up where he left off in his first game of the current season, pitching six innings of six-hit, one-run ball this Monday night at Arizona against the D-backs. He left after six innings, leading, 5-1, and the Giants narrowly held on to win, 5-4.
The competitor he is, Shields doffed his cap to Bumgarner.
"That whole run he had in the playoffs was historical," said Shields, who pitched his first game for the Padres this past Monday, holding the Dodgers to six hits and two runs over six innings in a game his new club ultimately lost at Dodger Stadium. "He attacks the hitters. He's not scared out there for sure. He's doing a phenomenal job and hopefully we can get to him."
The matchup, though, means nothing to Bumgarner, whose ethos is to pay attention to doing his own job, and his job only.
"It doesn't affect me when I'm pitching and who I'm pitching against," Bumgarner said. "It doesn't change the fact that I've still got to get guys out. It doesn't matter whether I'm facing James Shields, Sandy Koufax or Jeremy Affeldt. I'm glad you think it's fun. I hope you do. It was fun for me to watch the Sunday game -- [Adam] Wainwright and [Jon] Lester -- that was fun to watch. But when I'm pitching, I've got to eliminate all that stuff and put my attention on the hitter."