World Series Game 7 Recap: Why Madison Bumgarner Isn't Human
Madison Bumgarner is a cyborg sent from an alien planet meant to do us harm.
That is the only logical explanation for what we witnessed from the Giants' ace left-hander, who cemented his baseball postseason immortality last night in San Francisco's heart-stopping 3-2 win in Game 7 of the World Series.
After pitching a complete game shutout in Game 5 to give the Giants a 3-2 lead in the series, he returned on just two days' rest in the fifth inning of last night's do-or-die Game 7 with San Francisco holding a tenuous 3-2 lead. Most expected he would give the Giants two, maybe three innings at the most, and it was safe to wonder how effective he would be, given the short rest and his usage three nights before.
All Bumgarner did was go the distance, pitching five innings of scoreless baseball to earn the save and give the Giants their third world championship in five years.
Make no mistake. What Madison Bumgarner did last night has never been done before. Pedro Martinez overcame a back injury and tossed six no-hit innings of relief in the 1999 American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians, but that merely sent the Boston Red Sox into the ALCS. Randy Johnson got the last four outs for the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series after throwing 104 pitches the night before, giving the D-Backs the title.
But Bumgarner's five innings of shutout relief is in a class by itself and will go down as one of the legendary performances in the history of the sport.
Bumgarner is the second pitcher in MLB history to toss a shutout and have a relief appearance of 5 or more scoreless innings in a single World Series, following the Indians' Duster Mails in the 1920 World Series against the Dodgers. Mails pitched 6.2 innings of scoreless relief in Game 3, then pitched a complete game shutout in Game 6 in that best-of-9 series.
Bumgarner is the second pitcher with five or more scoreless innings of relief in a winner-take-all World Series game, following the Yankees' Joe Page in Game 7 of the 1947 World Series against the Dodgers.
Bumgarner's 5-inning save was the first ever recorded in the postseason since the save became an official statistic in 1969.
This was one epic postseason for Madison Bumgarner pic.twitter.com/EAwxZmEwNH— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 30, 2014
This postseason, Bumgarner pitched 52.2 innings, most ever in a single postseason, besting Curt Schilling's 48.1 IP in 2001. In those 52.2 innings, Bumgarner gave up 1 earned run. His 0.43 ERA in the World Series this year is the best since Sandy Koufax's 0.38 ERA in 1965 (minimum of 15 innings pitched).
Overall, in 52.2 innings, Bumgarner went 4-1 with 1 save, 45 strikeouts, 6 walks and a 1.03 ERA in the 2014 postseason. The next closest pitcher in terms of innings pitched in the playoffs was Yordano Ventura with 25.1.
Madison Bumgarner Career ERA Regular Season 3.06 Postseason 2.14 World Series 0.25— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 30, 2014
The Giants needed this heroic effort from their ace because manager Bruce Bochy had a quick hook on his number-3 starter Tim Hudson, who lasted just 1.2 innings after giving up Kansas City's 2 runs in the second. Jeremy Affeldt, who will certainly not get enough credit for the work he did in Game 7, pitched the Giants out of that second-inning jam and lasted 2.1 innings, giving up no runs on 1 hit, earning the win. He got the game to Bumgarner, and there's no telling where things would have gone had Affeldt not turned in the performance he did.
And the performances of Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval in this World Series should not be lost either. Pence went 2-for-4, finishing with a .444 batting average in the Fall Classic, and free agent-to-be Sandoval went 3-for-3, scored 2 runs, and in the process, made MLB history.
Pablo Sandoval's 26 hits this postseason are the most by a hitter in a single postseason— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 30, 2014
In 167 postseason plate appearances, Sandoval has a career slash line of .344/.389/.545 with 13 doubles and 6 home runs.
Mickey Mantle, in 273 postseason PAs, had a career slash line of .257/.374/.535 with 6 doubles and 18 homers.
Sandoval is going to get paid by someone this off-season.
With their win, the Giants became the first road team to win Game 7 of the World Series since the "We Are Family" Pittsburgh Pirates of 1979. And they are the first road team to win Game 7 after losing Game 6 since the 1975 Cincinnati Reds overcame Carlton Fisk's blast in that epic Game 6 at Fenway Park.
The Giants became the first National League team to win 3 World Series titles in 5 years since the St. Louis Cardinals did it in 1942, '44, and '46. They have won 10 consecutive postseason series since 2010, the second-longest streak in playoff history. And they are the sixth wild card team to win the World Series, joining the '97 Marlins, '02 Angels, '03 Marlins, '04 Red Sox, and '11 Cardinals.
The Giants now have won 8 world championships, joining the Red Sox for fourth-most in MLB history (Yankees 27, Cardinals 11, Athletics 9).
And let's not forget the gutsy managing of Bruce Bochy, who stuck with Bumgarner in the ninth inning, even after Alex Gordon hit a two-out single and advanced to third on a two-base error by center fielder Gregor Blanco. By the way, there has been some speculation that Gordon should have tried to score on that play.
Yes, Gordon would have been out by 15 feet had he gone home. So please, drop that narrative. pic.twitter.com/0g02CuIC9z— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) October 30, 2014
Bochy could have brought in his closer, Santiago Casilla, to face Royals catcher Salvador Perez, but left his ace in to seal the deal. As a result, Bochy won his third world championship, becoming just the fifth manager to win three World Series in a five-year span. He joined Connie Mack as the only managers to do it for a team other than the Yankees.
But for all of Game 7, the outcome was very much in doubt, with 2 major turning points in the game helping seal the Royals' fate.
With the lead-off runner on in the bottom of the third, Eric Hosmer grounded a ball up the middle that looked like a sure single that would have put runners on first and third with nobody out. But Giants second baseman Joe Panik made one of the best defensive plays in World Series history to kill the rally.
After reviewing Hosmer's idiotic head-first slide into first, umpires called him out, and a Royals' scoring opportunity went by the wayside.
Then in the fifth, with Bumgarner struggling with his command and Omar Infante on first after a lead-off single, Ned Yost had Alcides Escobar sacrifice bunt on a 2-0 count. Instead of putting pressure on Bumgarner and forcing him to find the strike zone, Kansas City gave him one of their few remaining precious outs. Nori Aoki followed with a lineout to left and Lorenzo Cain struck out swinging to end the last threat they would have until the ninth.
By then, Bumgarner was locked in, and it was too late for the Royals to win their first world championship since 1985.
And Madison Bumgarner is looking for more humans to destroy.