Madison Bumgarner Beating Opponents with Arm and Bat
Madison Bumgarner the ace for the San Francisco Giants starting rotation might be the biggest thorn in the side of the hopes of the Chicago Cubs to reach the World Series this season for the first time in over seven decades.
Bumgarner is not only doing it thus far this season with his arm, but with his bat as well. On Sunday, Bumgarner knocked in the only run during the game in the Giants 1-0 victory over Chicago.
Bumgarner and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw are the only two hurlers in baseball to win a game 1-0 in which they delivered the only RBI, this season.
Bumgarner is 5-0 with an ERA of 1.25. He has recorded 48 strikeouts in his 43 1/3 innings pitched over his last six starts. Over his last four starts versus the Cubs, Bumgarner has an ERA of 1.26.
During May, his ERA of 0.98 is third best trailing just the 0.67 of Julio Teheran and the 0.82 of Kershaw.
Bumgarner has regained some velocity on his fastball that appeared to be lost earlier this season. He averaged 90.4 mph during April with the fastball and 91.2 thus far in May.
In April, opponents hit .276 against the left-hander, but thus far in May only .186.
Bumgarner’s breaking ball has been dominant as well, with a batting average drop by opponents from .231 in April to .167 in May.
In the game on Sunday versus the Cubs, Bumgarner threw 64 curves and sliders, which resulted in 17 outs and only two baserunners. Thirty-eight of his 50 sliders were strikes that resulted in 14 outs with only one hit given up.
Bumgarner has not been hitting the ball like he is known to do as a pitcher. He was just 3 for 23 entering Sunday’s game for the season, but recorded the game’s only RBI. He has 26 RBIs over the last three seasons. The second most RBIs by a pitcher over the past three seasons are 14, by Mike Leake.
Bumgarner for a pitcher excels in his bat handling against pitches up in the strike zone. Over the last three season, Bumgarner has a .329 batting average and six home runs on pitches in the upper half or higher in the strike zone.
The season is long and there are nearly 125 games left to be played by most teams. However, thoughts are always on the postseason. Bumgarner excels there with a 7-3 career record and an ERA of 2.14. He also has won the World Series on three occasions.