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Madison Bumgarner

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Madison Kyle Bumgarner

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[edit] Biographical Information

Pitcher Madison Bumgarner was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the first round of the 2007 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Pat Portugal and made his pro debut the next summer with the Augusta Greenjackets, going 15-3 to confirm his status as one of the top pitching prospects in all of organized baseball. By the end of the 2009 season, he had made his major league debut with the Giants. He became nationally-known during the 2010 World Series, when he pitched 8 scoreless innings in Game 4 against the Texas Rangers to help put the Giants on their way to their first Championship since moving to San Francisco, CA. He had gone 7-6, 3.00 in 18 starts as a rookie in 2010, being inserted in the Giants' starting rotation in mid-year.

In 2011, he continued to establish himself as a future front-line starter, going 13-13, 3.21 and pitching 204 2/3 innings for the Giants. He also struck out over 190 batters, something he would repeat the following two seasons as well. On April 16, 2012, the Giants signed Bumgarner to a five-year contract extension worth $35 million, with option years extending until 2019. He rewarded their confidence with a great season, going 16-11 with a 3.37 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 208 1/3 innings. However, he was roughed up in his first two outings of the postseason, losing 9-0 to the Cincinnati Reds in Game 2 of the NLDS and 6-4 to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLCS. He looked so out of sorts that there was a question whether he would be used at all in the World Series, but he responded with a vintage performance in Game 2 on October 25th, giving up no runs on 2 hits while striking out 8 in 7 innings to earn the Giants' 2-0 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Bumgarner started 2013 where he had left off the previous season, pitching 8 scoreless innings in which he gave up only two hits in his first start of the season against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 2nd. Sergio Romo added a perfect 9th inning to complete the 3-0 combined shutout. On June 14th, he took a no-hitter into the 6th inning in a start against the Atlanta Braves, and ended up giving 2 hits and a walk while striking out 10 in 7 innings, combining with Sandy Rosario on a 6-0 shutout. He made the All-Star team for the first time and was the Giants' most consistent hurler all season, with Matt Cain struggling, Ryan Vogelsong injured and Tim Lincecum having an up-and-down year. He finished the year at 13-9, 2.77 in 31 starts and 201 1/3 innings. His ERA was fifth-best in the NL, while his 199 strikeouts placed him 9th. He was also among the league leaders for hits/9 innings (6.53, 3rd), WHIP (1.033, 5th) and K/9 IP (8.90, 7th).

As spring training got under way in 2014, manager Bruce Bochy named him his Opening day starter, the first time he received this honor. He was the National League's Pitcher of the Month in May, when he went 5-0, 2.08 with 48 strikeouts in 39 innings. He improved to 8-3 on the year with his career-best 6th straight win on June 5th, 6-1 over the Cincinnati Reds. He ended the first half with a flourish, as both he and catcher Buster Posey hit grand slams in an 8-4 defeat of the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 13th. It was the first time that both members of a battery had hit slams in the same game, and for Madison, it was his second of the year, making him only the second pitcher to have ever done so: Tony Cloninger had hit two in the same game in 1966. The win meant he was 10-7 at the All-Star break; he was selected as a member of the NL squad in the 2014 All-Star Game, but he had to give up his spot under the "Sunday Starter rule", with teammate Tim Hudson taking his place. On August 3rd, he pitched a beauty of a game, needing only 94 pitches to shut out the New York Mets, 9-0, on two hits. He had another dominating performance against the Colorado Rockies on August 26th: he retired the first 21 batters before allowing a double to Justin Morneau to lead off the 8th, then struck out the next three batters that inning and set down the last three men in order in the 9th for a one-hitter. He struck out 13 and walked none in earning his 15th win of the year, 3-0. He was once again named the NL Pitcher of the Month for August, on the basis of a 4-1 record and a 1.57 ERA. He finished the regular season with a record of 18-10, 2.98 in 33 starts, amassing 219 strikeouts in 217 1/3 innings, He was picked to start the National League Wild Card Game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on October 1st and came through with a brilliant performance, pitching a complete game four-hit shutout in which he struck out 10 and walked 1 to lead the Giants to an 8-0 win. That was the start of a magnificent postseason run that saw him be named most valuable player of both the NLCS and of the World Series. In the latter, he won the opener, pitched a complete game shutout in Game 5 and pitched the last five innings with a one-run lead in Game 7 to earn the save and clinch the Giants' third championship in five years. To top off the year, he was named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.

On May 21, 2015, he became the first pitcher to homer off Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in the course of the Giants shutting out L.A., 4-0. He improved to 5-2 with the win. He was named to the All-Star team for the third straight season and on August 16th, he had a tremendous two-way performance as he shut out the Nationals, 5-0, in a three-hitter while striking out 14, matching a career high, and also doubled and homered to improve to 14-6 on the year. It was already his 4th homer of the year. With the Giants reeling from a number of injuries to position players, he was used as a pinch-hitter in key situations in back-to-back games against the Cardinals on August 18-19, singling to start a game-winning rally the first time and striking out in the 9th inning the next day. He then hit his fifth homer of the year in his next start on August 21st, a two-run blast off Jeff Locke in a 6-4 win over the Pirates, his 15th victory of the year. The five homers set a record for most in a season by a Giants pitcher and were the most by a major league pitcher since Carlos Zambrano had hit six in 2006. As new teammate Marlon Byrd put it: "He can swing it. It's like having nine hitters up there when he's pitching." On September 12th, he was perfect until two men were out in the 8th inning when he allowed a single to pinch-hitter Melvin Upton of the San Diego Padres. He stayed in the game and completed a one-hitter to earn his 18th win of the year, 8-0, matching his career high for wins set the previous season. He finished the year at 18-9, 2.93, with 234 Ks in 218 1/3 innings.

On April 9, 2016, he hit his second career homer off Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, giving him a total of 12 long balls in the majors. That tied him for the lead among active pitchers with Yovani Gallardo. However, Gallardo was now toiling in the American League, making it a lot harder for him to add to his total. Bumgarner even expressed in taking part in that year's Home Run Derby after it was pointed out that his rate of home runs per at-bat was comparable to the game's best sluggers. That did not go anywhere, but on June 30th, manager Bruce Bochy decided to eschew the use of the designated hitter in a road game against the Oakland Athletics, the first time this had been done deliberately since the 1976 Chicago White Sox had let pitcher Ken Brett bat for himself a few times. The Giants' bench was shorthanded, especially when it came to right-handed batters against lefty Dillon Overton, so there was some strategic value to the move. Bumgarner made Bochy look like a genius when he doubled in his first at-bat in the 3rd, sparking a six-run outburst as the Giants went on to win the game, 12-6. He ended the first half with a flourish, as on the last day of games before the All-Star break on July 10th, he pitched a compete game one-hit shutout over the Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-0, striking out 14 in the process. He had a no-hitter going until the 8th, when he gave up a single to Jake Lamb. He had been named to his fourth All-Star Game a few days earlier. On October 5th, he added another chapter to his already lengthy postseason resumé when he pitched a masterful complete game shutout in the Wild Card Game, defeating the New York Mets, 3-0, at Citi Field.

[edit] Notable Achievements

[edit] Further Reading

  • Ted Berg: "9 absurd stats that show Madison Bumgarner's obscene postseason dominance", "For the Win!", USA Today Sports, October 6, 2016. [1]
  • Steve Gardner: "Six to Watch: Bumgarner hoping to start how he ended '11", USA Today, March 14, 2012. [2]
  • Chris Haft: "Giants ace once again rises under pressure: Bumgarner adds to legend with third postseason shutout in Wild Card win", mlb.com, October 6, 2016. [3]
  • Richard Justice: "Bumgarner makes October his time: Left-hander wills Giants to third World Series title in five seasons", mlb.com, October 29, 2014. [4]

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