Last night was incredible!
Now he belongs to history, alongside Christy Mathewson and Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Randy Johnson. The pantheon of World Series pitching greats must welcome a new member. Madison Bumgarner burst into the club with a performance for the ages in Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday.
Bumgarner, a bearded left-hander from Hickory, N.C., squeezed the life from the plucky Kansas City Royals with fastballs, cutters and curveballs slung sideways from an arm that had only two days’ rest. Bumgarner, 25, shut out the Royals on two hits for the final five innings, saving a 3-2 victory for the San Francisco Giants and clinching the team’s third championship in five seasons.
“You know what?” said Bumgarner, who pitched 270 innings this season, including a postseason-record 522/3. “I can’t lie to you anymore. I’m a little tired now.”
Bumgarner’s final World Series line sparkles: 2-0 with a save and a 0.43 earned run average, with nine hits, one run, one walk and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings. Add in 15 scoreless innings in earlier victories, against Texas in 2010 and Detroit in 2012, and you get a 0.25 E.R.A. that ranks as the best in World Series history, minimum 25 innings.
How important was Madison Bumgarner to the Giants victory? In the three games he pitched the Giants were 3-0. In the four games he didn’t pitch the Giants were 1-3.
Sadly, from the ratings it appears that many so-called baseball fans missed out on a World Series for the ages. Both teams played like champions, but in the end there can be only one.
It was so close that before the last out I was covering my eyes with the orange towel I had been waving during the game, afraid to watch. But I watched anyway, and it was glorious!
Exit quote from Tim Hudson, the the oldest starting pitcher in a game 7 in World Series history:
“Once I saw him warming up when we had the lead, I knew it was over,” Hudson said. “I knew the big fella was going to get the job done.”