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Giants’ Madison Bumgarner tosses complete game shutout, a legend is born

By Jacob Fagan
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Baseball is a game. A diversion from the rest of the 20 hours of the day that blinds us from reality and we love that. But two humans were lost Sunday afternoon that seems all but real. I didn’t know Oscar Taveras or his girlfriend Edilia Arvelo, but I do know that they were kids. 22 year-olds whose lives ended too soon. What they could’ve achieved. What they could’ve seen. We’ll never know, but all we can do is remember.

That swing.

Oct 12, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pinch hitter Oscar Taveras (18) hits a solo home run against the San Francisco Giants during the 7th inning in game two of the 2014 NLCS playoff baseball game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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Legendary.

That’s all you can say about Madison Bumgarner Sunday night in San Francisco after throwing a complete game shutout in game five of the 2014 World Series. The Giants are now one win away from their third championship in five seasons.

The 2010 postseason Bumgarner shined as a 21-year old rookie throwing 8 shutout innings in the World Series. In 2012, he struggled early in the NLDS and NLCS, but found his groove in the World Series going seven shutout innings against the Tigers. Now in 2014, a legend has been born. 16 innings, one run in the World Series in two starts.

After throwing seven innings of one run ball in game one of the 2014 World Series, he topped that in game five. He gave up four hits, no runs, and struck out eight while completing a complete game shutout. I have no idea if he’s human or not. The dude has a 2.27 ERA in 83.1 career postseason innings.

To start the game off, Alcides Escobar tried ambushing Bumgarner, but flew out to left. Alex Gordon was then robbed of a single by Joe Panik on a diving play in right field. Lorenzo Cain spoiled the first inning by singling to center, but then Eric Hosmer whiffed on a curveball in the dirt.  Here’s Bumgarner’s pitch chart from Brooks Baseball: Bumgarner liked using his cutter and fastball tonight (90 out of 117 pitches), but used his curveball 7 times against lefties out of 53 pitches. Only one lefty reached base as he pounded the corners with his cutter and fastball, then pulled the trigger with his hook on two-strike counts. Here is another Brooks Baseball plot. This one is Bumgarner vs. LHH (pitchers view): To righties, Bumgarner was not predictable. Out of 64 pitches to righties, he threw 26 fastball, 19 cutters, 12 curveball, 1 slow curve, and 6 change ups. He only let 3 righties reach base. Here’s Bumgarner’s plot via Brooks Baseball of pitches thrown to righties (pitchers view): Notice how he worked inside a lot and really changed his style this game. In game one he pitched high in the zone more often.

Bumgarner game one Brooks Baseball plot vs. righties. Notice the amount of fastballs high in the zone compared to the amount in game two.

Bumgarner had two shutouts, three in his career during the regular season. He has two this postseason. These playoffs, he has decided to fool every hitter by throwing his curveball more often. Buster Olney of ESPN had this great stat tonight:

One of the reasons why Madison has had so much success is because he maintains the same release point with all of his pitches. Here’s his release point Sunday night compared to James Shields‘ release point. (Top is Bumgarner, bottom is Shields.) Shields release point:

84 of Bumgarner’s 117 pitches were strikes and when he missed, it wasn’t by much. Here’s his full pitch chart from the pitcher’s point of view:

And here’s a plot of Bumgarner’s movement and speed. Notice the good balance of fastballs over 90 mph, 85 mph, and 75 mph. Even one 65 mph curveball.

Dave Cameron of FanGraphs had this chart listing both the ERA- and FIP- of the starters who had at least five starts of seven or more innings pitched in the same postseason.

After Madison’s masterpiece he now has a 2.997 ERA in 1,036 innings pitched in his major league career including both there regular season and postseason. His regular season combined fWAR if 16.2, but including his 2.27 ERA in 83.1 innings pitched, it’s probably around 20. Per 200 innings pitched, he has around a 5 fWAR and is now considered one of the best pitchers in the game.

Notes: 

Jake Peavy vs. Yordano Ventura Tuesday night in Kansas City as the Giants have a shot to end it right there in game six.

Juan Perez heard of his friends death during the game and doubled off arguably the best relief pitcher in the game driving in two runs.

– When Bumgarner was asked about pitching in game seven on two days rest, he replied, “You know it. Always.”

Yusmeiro Petit will be fully rested for game six if Peavy falters after throwing 30 pitches Saturday.

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