Madison Bumgarner May Be the Best Starting Pitcher in Postseason History

After Wednesday's outing, Bumgarner may have cemented himself as the best postseason starter of all-time.

By now, we shouldn't even be surprised anymore.

The San Francisco Giants hit the road to take on the New York Mets Wednesday in the National League Wild Card one-game playoff, and our algorithm had the Mets as slight favorites at 54.6% heading into the game.

Two and a half hours later -- after Bumgarner's third postseason, complete-game shutout -- we should have had a win probability for the Giants set at 99.99%.

Bumgarner fired nine more scoreless innings, allowing a mere seven base runners (one via an intentional walk), and striking out six Mets en route to a 3-0 Giants victory.

Wednesday evening was Bumgarner's third appearance in a winner-take-all-contest in the postseason. He has not allowed a run in any of these three outings.

Date Opponent Innings Pitched Hits Allowed Walks Strikeouts
10/1/2014 Pittsburgh 9.0 4 1 10
10/29/2014 Kansas City 5.0 2 0 4
10/5/2016 New York Mets 9.0 4 3 6
Total 23.0 10 4 20

Bumgarner, including two winner-take-all Wild Card series, has played in 11 playoff series in his career. His teams have won all 11.

The results are nearly a given, and the statistics look like they are from a video game.

It's actually harder to discern which is the more mind-boggling statistic about Madison Bumgarner.

Appearances Innings Pitched Hits Allowed Batters Faced Walks Walk Rate Strikeouts Strikeout Rate ERA WHIP
15 97.1 67 374 19 5.1% 83 22.2% 1.94 0.86

Bumgarner started the 2012 postseason with two poor outings (one against the Cincinnati Reds and one against the St. Louis Cardinals). He allowed 10 earned runs in 8 innings in those starts.

Since then, he's been virtually untouchable. Over 68 2/3 innings pitched, Bumgarner has a 0.79 ERA and a 0.68 WHIP. Amongst any starting pitcher who has made 12 postseason starts or more in their career, Bumgarner has the best ERA.

And then, there's this little gem:

Not only does he rack up zeroes, but he also has now surpassed any and all takers with six starts of seven-plus scoreless innings.

It's almost as if as the stage gets bigger Bumgarner gets better.

His 0.25 ERA in the World Series is absurd, and because he was tired of dominating as a starter, he threw in this masterful relief appearance in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series:

Whatever the metric or measurable, Bumgarner stacks up with some of the absolute pitching greats in postseason lore. Wednesday added merely another chapter to his book, and at age 27, it certainly appears he is primed for many more stories to come.

The next task will be eliminating the mighty Chicago Cubs, who we rank as having a 29.2% chance of winning it all. Can he do it?

I'm not sure I would bet against it.