Found October 26, 2012 on
Bay Sports Nut:
San Francisco Giants
This was the Madison Bumgarner that the Giants were waiting to see this postseason.
After being 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA in his two postseason starts, the Giants wondered when Bumgarner was going to pitch the way he was pitching in the postseason two years ago.
They found Bumgarner at his best Thursday night. He pitched seven shutout innings in setting the tone in the Giants’ 2-0 victory over the Tigers Thursday night at AT&T Park. This performance put the Giants in control of the World Series by being up by two games.
Bumgarner was flawless. He was ahead of the count when he was facing hitters, and he was able to finish them off by throwing eight strikeouts. He had a good grasp of throwing at the strike zone.
As the game went on, he was able to get the Tigers to hack at whatever pitch he was throwing. He was frustrating them late in the game, as they realized they weren’t going to hit him at all in the game.
It made one wonder why Bruce Bochy did not let Bumgarner throw a complete game. It’s always special when a starter can go all nine innings, especially in the postseason. It’s where legends are born.
But with the way the relievers are pitching for the Giants in the postseason, it’s hard to second-guess what Bochy is doing as the manager. Everything works out for him when it comes to making moves.
Still, starters pitching complete games don’t come as often. It has become a lost art. The manager’s bosses demand that starters go on a pitch count, so that their arms don’t break down for throwing many innings and pitches. That’s too bad, and it shouldn’t be that way.
Bumgarner had to settle with enjoying the game for the last two innings of the game. It was the next best thing for him after a rough postseason.
Everyone pegged him to struggle against the Tigers after pitching lousy against the Cardinals and the Reds. With his control problems, it was easy to see why.
Bumgarner’s success last night shows why it’s hard to make predictions in baseball. It’s always the opposite of what one thinks it’s going to happen. That’s what makes the nation’s pastime a beautiful sport. Things fluctuate from one game to another. Bochy knows this well as anyone, which is why he sticks by his players when things go bad. He knows they can snap out of it in one game.
Bochy knows Bumgarner is too good to continue to struggle, and he also knows his starter does well at AT&T Park. That was why he did not hesitate in starting him last night. With the Giants winning Game 1 of the World Series, the pressure was on the Tigers to win, so the Giants manager had nothing to lose in trotting his struggling starter out there.
Maybe with no pressure, it made it easy for Bumgarner to relax and throw the ball rather than think about being perfect. He didn’t handle the role of pitching with a deficit well when the Giants fell behind in the series.
Bumgarner may also have learned from Barry Zito about keeping it simple, which is trusting his stuff and not worry about whether or not to make adjustments after every pitch.
It’s a good thing Bumgarner figured it out with the way Doug Fister was pitching.
The Giants couldn’t hit Fister in this game. He had them off-track as the hitters couldn’t figure it out when to swing. After he was hit in the head on Gregor Blanco’s liner, he managed to recover and retire 12 Giants hitters.
This game could have been scoreless for nine innings, and both starters could have gone on for nine innings.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland made an interesting decision to take Fister out in the seventh inning after Hunter Pence started the inning with a single.
Despite Fister’s pitch count at 114, he should have stayed in the game. He wasn’t tired at all. His velocity wasn’t down. He could have minimized the damage with Pence’s single, but he never had that opportunity.
The Giants were more than happy to see Drew Smyly pitch. They felt they had a better chance of doing well with a new pitcher on the mound, and they did just that as Smyly had control issues with three walks to show for it in his appearance.
Smyly walked Brandon Belt, and Blanco had a bunt single off the Tigers reliever to load the bases with Pence at third and Belt at second.
When Brandon Crawford grounded into a double play, Pence scored to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
The Giants added in another run in the eighth inning to make it a 2-0 game, and that was the ballgame.
Who knows if this game would be different if Fister stayed in? It couldn’t be worse for the Tigers.
Bumgarner was the beneficiary of Leyland’s decision making.
This shows the Giants continue to live a charm life this postseason.
For Bumgarner, he is happy that he gets to be part of a magic carpet ride that is helping the Giants to be two wins away from another championship celebration.
The post Everything clicks for Bumgarner appeared first on Bay Area Sports Nut.
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