Madison Bumgarner is the best postseason pitcher ever. It’s a pretty bold statement, yes. In light of Bumgarner’s heroics last night it’s also a pretty accurate statement. The man was unhittable and has been all of October. Mowing down the opposition’s lineup has become a regular occurrence. Largely down to Bumgarner the San Francisco Giants are the World Series Champions. In my opinion largely down to the best postseason pitcher ever.
My opinion isn’t the only thing that supports this pretty bold statement. The numbers suggest the same thing. The history he made suggests the same thing. In pitching an astounding total of 56 innings this October – a new major league record – Bumgarner had a miniscule ERA of 1.03. He walked only one batter per nine innings on average. He was completely and utterly dominant no matter how you look at it. He was completely and utterly dominant, fact.
He first took to the mound in the wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was lights out. Madison hurled a complete game shutout and in doing so officially propelled the San Francisco Giants into the postseason. At the time it would be hard to believe but he only got better the longer the month went on. After strong Division and Championship series his World Series outings were the most remarkable. His World Series outings were unbelievable.
Game one: seven innings allowing only one run. Game five: a complete game, four hit, shutout. Game seven: in the words of Jeremy Affeldt, “you’ll never see that again…that to me, was the best pitching performance I’ve ever seen.” And it couldn’t be put better. Three days after a complete game shutout in the World Series to pitch game seven in relief is remarkable. To pitch five shutout innings in relief is something only Bumgarner could have done. It is something that is truly exceptional.
It was awe inspiring. It was historical. It was World Series winning. The southpaw’s low, three-quarter-length, slinging delivery is set to be iconic for October. The same delivery blowing fastballs past hitters up in the zone is set to be iconic for October. Madison Bumgarner is set to be an icon of October. A hero. A legend. The best World Series pitcher ever. The best postseason pitcher ever.