San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner will take the mound for a critical game against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.
The San Francisco Giants had a month of July for the ages, finishing with a 19-6 record and climbing to within 2.5 games of a wild-card spot in the process.
The calendar has now flipped to August and the Giants have dropped the first two games of the month, including a 10-2 loss against the Philadelphia Phillies, a team they happen to be looking up at in the wild-card standings.
That July surge kept president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi from selling at the trade deadline. One of the players he opted to keep is ace and franchise icon Madison Bumgarner. The relationship that manager Bruce Bochy has with Bumgarner might have played some role in the Giants holding onto him, and the team is now set to make a push in his final season before retiring.
After losing three out of their last four games and coming off their first series loss since the June 24-26 series against the Colorado Rockies, the Giants will now turn to Bumgarner to get them back on track. It will be Bumgarner’s first start since the deadline and he’ll need to be the “stopper” tonight at Coors Field to keep the Giants from losing three straight for the first time since June 19.
Like the team, Bumgarner is also coming off a terrific month of July. In five starts, the southpaw went 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA. Out of those five starts, he only gave up three earned runs once. In his last six games, he has a 2-0 record with a 2.00 ERA and 41 strikeouts.
In his last outing against the Rockies on June 25, Bumgarner recorded a quality start. The lefty worked six innings, giving up three hits and two earned runs while recording 11 strikeouts. It was a game that the Giants won 4-2 to avoid a three-game losing streak.
Tonight the Giants will need another vintage Bumgarner performance at Coors Field, a place where finding great pitching performances is like spotting Big Foot. It will be a challenge for Bumgarner, who has a career ERA of 4.33 at Coors Field. That said, he fared well in his last outing in Denver, turning in a quality start by going six innings and giving up eight hits and three runs with eight strikeouts.
Take a second to think about what current pitchers you’d want to hand the ball to for a Game 7 start. Bumgarner is likely at the top of many people’s list. He’s a big-game pitcher, and while this isn’t a win or go home situation, it is a big game for the San Francisco Giants. There is nobody else that they’d rather have on the mound than the man they didn’t trade at the deadline.