It was a shaky start to Game 5 for Madison Bumgarner. The contact was hard, and he needed the balls to find mitts for the first four innings. On a night the Giants couldn't dip into the bullpen too early, Bumgarner looked like he was going to be good for five, at best.
He pitched eight. He retired the last 12 batters he faced. He kept the Giants close, and the 25-year-old is heading to his third World Series. For his efforts, Madison Bumgarner was named the 2014 National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player.
His final line: 15⅔ innings, three earned runs, three walks, 12 strikeouts. He was dominant in his first start against the Cardinals, and he was dominant for his last four innings in his second start. I would have given the award to every danged person on the team, but they don't ask me. Bumgarner, then, is a fine choice.
The Giants won the pennant.