Madison Bumgarner has pitched 205 innings, four complete games, two shutouts, 219 strikeouts and posted a 2.91 ERA for 18 wins this season.
His 19th, which would tie him up with the Cubs’Jake Arrieta, looked to be in reach Friday night. But the Arizona Diamondbacks edged a 2-0 win over the Giants to cut that off.
The Giants had no response, the lamentable Giants ace sat with a beauty of a game and got little for it, said Bruce Bochy:
“He threw well. Unfortunately we couldn’t get some runs for him.”
Bumgarner’s (L, 18-8, 2.84) been a dream — gliding easily from his 2014 postseason glory into a consistently solid 2015–and, yet, he’s buried among the NL Cy Young Award contenders.
Two that headline the Cy Young chatter have the most feared one-two punch in the West: Zack Greinke‘s posted a league-leading 1.65 ERA and 0.85 WHIP — he and the Dodgers defeated the Pirates tonight to push the Giants back a game in the West — and Clayton Kershaw‘s not far behind at 2.12, though he’s got 264 strikeouts to bolster the case.
If not them, Arrieta would be next in line. He leads the league in wins, just one shy of the holy 2-0, but wins mean jack squat these days. He’s kept pace with Greinke, posting a 1.96 ERA and .92 WHIP.
Bumgarner’s been an every-fifth-day anchor, the team’s grind and grit, yet his efforts won’t push the Giants into the playoff promised land. Though they’re still breathing, Bochy attests:
“As long as you’re still alive, you gotta believe.”
Friday night Bum pitched a season-high 117 pitches over eight innings and gave up one earned run — the second came off an error by Alejandro De Aza in left field — on five hits. He fanned seven, about average for Bum, and walked three, matching a season-high.
By anyone’s standards, a silver platter pitching performance. Always able to hold the line for his offense, which has usually been able to secure him the win. Friday, though, they froze. Bumgarner was visibly frustrated after the game:
“We lost, that’s not ideal for us. But, I mean, that’s…(I felt) fine, I guess. Not good enough to win though.”
Anything he would want to take back?
“There were a couple runs that scored, yeah, I’d like to have those back.”
He also might have wanted an intentional walk to Giant-killer Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth back, though it did no harm. Bumgarner, the competitor, glared at the dugout when he saw the instructions, said Bochy:
“I think his thought was, I’m gonna walk him and go to the bullpen. He didn’t want to leave that game. That was more his concern.”
“He’s done that before on us. He has good stuff. Velocity, movement, hard slider. We just couldn’t get a hit there off him. … He had good stuff tonight, it was evident. Offensively we couldn’t generate anything against him, except a few walks.”
So the Giants are 8.5 back of the Dodgers. If you weren’t freaking out about the team’s playoff hopes now, time to start freaking.
Brandon Crawford returned to the lineup today after battling a calf injury. He went hitless and little a little rusty, by Craw’s standards, at short. … Brandon Crawford left the game because he couldn’t focus, said Bochy. Three days ago he collided with Ivan De Jesus‘ leg, but passed concussion tests after. Bochy said they’ll run the tests again and give him a day off tomorrow. Another injury, of course.