Madison Bumgarner is tired, yall. Just plumb tuckered. Gassed. But madblastit, he's still hossing it up out there. Still mule-ing about. Carving hitters from time to time with a cutter that says, "Yeah, I know what a cutter is and how to properly deploy it". He's still Madison Bumgarner, the guy we love; you know, the guy from TV. But he's tired. So very tired.
How else to explain these last four starts? It's September. After tonight, he's pitched 192.2 innings. He's 23 years old (signed through 2017 -- lol other teams) and has thrown 518.1 major league innings since the end of 2009. His last four starts:
6.1 4 ER 5K
4.0 4 ER (5 R) 3K
6.1 4 ER 5K
4.1 5 ER 2K
He has been so startlingly consistent all year (really, since the end of 2010 through most of this season) that this hiccup is probably a necessity. I worry about the wear and tear, I worry about the "here today, gone tomorrow"-ness of all pitchers. What I'm getting at is that he needs a blow, a rest, a staycation, playtime on the bench with Theriot. Something to conserve his sweet, sweet pitching talent, because Madison Bumgarner's tired, yall, and I will kick up some dirt and start a fuss if they're just going to pitch through this obvious fatigue.
And the really good, solid, strong reason why the Giants might want to consider slowing their roll with Bumgarner (and perhaps Vogelsong -- heck, all the starters) is that Adrian Gonzalez has helped the Dodgers to give the Giants a 6-game division lead on September 11th. It's not insurmountable, playoffs are not a guarantee, but it's a cushion at least. If not a cushion, then definitely some sort of recliner or highly-rated foot bath. There's the possibility for rest within those six games.
Madison Bumgarner is tired, yall, but the Giants won and he was a big part of that win tonight. The Giants had to win, they had to figure out a way to defeat Coors Field, which tonight decided to activate its rarely-used weather machine device. The result was some tough winds that knocked balls down. Well, not all of them (and, really, not even most of them; just that one that vexed Fowler in the 4th). I present to you Madison Bumgarner's sole highlight:
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The Giants have a 6-game lead in the NL West, their biggest division lead since 2003. They'd ultimately win 100 games that season and win the west by a cool 15.5 games (they played 161 games that year because of a rain out against Atlanta that was never made up).
The Giants won their 80th game tonight in their 142nd game. That's pretty cool. Here are the dates of the last time the Giants won their 80th game in a season since 2000:
- 2012: 9-11
- 2011: 9-15
- 2010: 9-11
- 2009: 9-18
- 2004: 9-14
- 2003: 8-29 (won division by 15.5 games)
- 2002: 9-7
- 2001: 9-9
- 2000: 9-4 (won division by 11.0 games)
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Belt has 12 hits in last 28 at-bats with runners in scoring position.— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) September 12, 2012
And you know why this is so cool? Because it's a silly mainstream stat that is often used to bludgeon players. I cheer every time Brandon Belt bashes a ball because it feels like vindication. It feels like "IN YOUR FACE, OLD ESTABLISHED BASEBALL TYPES". It feels good.
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The starting pitching has been somewhat shaky, the bullpen has been somewhat shaky, the pitching changes have been somewhat shaky. That all has to change and fast. Won't happen in Coors, of course. Nope. Coors Field still hasn't used the Spilborghs Protocol or the Helton Gambit. A 6-game lead is nice, but losing to a team where the starting pitchers have a curfew is not optimal.
What I'm saying is, the Giants offense must continue to carry the day. If you had tweeted that to me back in, oh, July, I'd have created several fake accounts to retweet and mock you. I would have been dumb (though some of those fake accounts might've been somewhat clever), because here we are now not worrying about the Giants offense.