The last time Madison Bumgarner pitched it was bad. Real bad. Historically bad. In fact, no pitcher had given up that many hits (9) and that many runs (8) before getting the second out in the modern era of baseball. That means at least since 1900. Yep, 111 years.
What did the Giants and Bumgarner do last night, his next scheduled start, in front of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball in a national televised game? They pitched him. And pitch he did. He struck out 11 batters (a career high) in 7 innings and only gave up 1 earned run.
There is no questioning it…Bochy knows his players and Bumgarner has nerves of steel. I sometimes forget he’s only 21. If that had happened to Jonathan Sanchez (and I’m surprised it hasn’t), he would have probably started crying and throwing a fit on the pitcher’s mound and would certainly have sit out the next game (or gone on the DL like right now). But no one questioned Bumgarner’s ability or his mind. They made the decision to go with him. Even his teammate gave him crap about it during the week, which says that they knew he could take it. If they weren’t sure, they would have left him alone. Have you seen him in the dugout when he gets pissed off? He’s a big boy too.
Perhaps in hopes of easing his mind a bit, the Giants batters chipped in 3 runs in the first 3 innings. That was all they needed. And for what it’s worth, Chris Stewart, that catcher we rip on all the time, chipped in 2 of those 3 RBIs with a double. Giants swept the Indians, who were in 1st in the AL Central before coming to town. Giants 3, Indians 1.
Giants Sweep. Bumgarner shows us how resiliant he is. The nation and ESPN get to sit back and scratch their heads even more at how we’re 1st in division, 2nd in NL, 4th in MLB and dead last in number of runs scored. I can answer that. Guys like Bumgarner, Lincecum, Cain and Vogelsong. And guys with the abilities we know Sanchez and Zito have.
Pitching > Hitting.