Analyzing Madison Bumgarner’s World Series masterpiece


The Royals were 8-0 in the postseason, looking for a clean playoff sweep for the first time since the 1976 Reds, but Madison Bumgarner was there to hand Kansas City their first loss.

Seven innings, three hits, one run, five strikeouts, one walk in 106 pitches. Bumgarner was stellar in his third career World Series start. He is now 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA in 22 innings in World Series play.He’s only 25-years old. Chart via Gammons Daily.

The hard throwing southpaw now has 74.1 innings pitched in the postseason with a 2.54 ERA, and has stranded 81.6% of runners on base. He is on pace to be called one of the best postseason pitchers who ever lived and a Hall of Fame candidate.

Tuesday, Bumgarner was using his fastball and cutter to perfection. Out of the 106 pitches he threw, 87 of them were either cutters (87.7 average velocity) or fastballs (93.7 average velocity). 46 of his 61 (75.4%) fastballs were strikes and 18 of the 26 (69.2) cutters were strikes. In the regular season, Bumgarner threw 43.5% fastballs, 34.9% cutters. Tuesday, he threw 25% cutters and 58% fastballs while reaching back and throwing a couple MPH harder. Here’s a look at how Bumgarner changed speeds Tuesday night, according to Brooks Baseball.

Out of the 106 pitches thrown, 44 were thrown to lefties. He pumped 25 fastballs and 14 cutters to lefties and here’s his pitch chart to them. Notice that he likes to stay on the outside corner with lefties. It works, because in the regular season he had a 1.40 FIP against lefties. Pitch chart, point of view from pitcher.

Bumgarner threw 62 pitches to righties and used his curveball just as much as his cutter. 12 curveballs and 12 cutters. 36 of the 62 pitches were fastballs. His pitch chart is incredible, due to the amount of high fastballs he threw. Pitch chart, point of view from pitcher.

Overall, here’s Bumgarner’s pitch chart from his point of view. All 106 pitches. Includes pitch number of his pitch.

Finally, here’s a Brooks Baseball plot showing Bumgarner’s movement and speed. Notice how he changed speeds effectively while still having good movement on his pitches. Check out the bottom two pitches, both around 67 MPH and both were swung and missed at.

Overall, Bumgarner stayed unpredictable Tuesday as he was all over the strike zone and effectively using his fastball above the zone to take advantage of the Royals’ aggression. He made two mistakes all game. The low and in fastball to Mike Moustakas hitting a double in the corner and then a middle in fastball to Salvador Perez who hit a meaningless home run in the seventh. I’ll leave this FanGraphs hot zone from Bumgarner’s regular season. On the right is his pitch% and left is slugging % based on location.


– This happened:

Tim Lincecum wasn’t part of the introductions. He was asked after game about it and said he was late getting dressed and didn’t want to interrupt it. By the way, he still hasn’t thrown a pitch in the 2014 postseason.

– After Pablo Sandoval‘s RBI double in the first he extended his postseason on-base streak to 24, passing Babe Ruth. In his postseason career, he has a 153 wRC+, .834 OPS, 3 homer runs in 142 plate appearances.

Hunter Pence was 0-11 against “Big Game” James Shields (HA) before his two-run home run in the first. If anybody cared about that 0-11 before the game, they don’t realize how small of a sample size it is.

– Yordano Ventura vs. Jake Peavy Wednesday 5:07 PST with this enervating gif provided by Grant Brisbee.