Madison Bumgarner cost his Giants Game 1 of the NLCS.
Or July, June, May or April for that matter.
Since August 25, the usually reliable Bumgarner has been trapped in a late-season collapse. As of Sunday night, that unfortunate streak extended into the NLCS.
He surrendered six runs and eight hits in a mere 3.2 innings of work against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1. Four runs came off the long ball in an outing that produced a 14.73 ERA.
Through two starts in the 2012 postseason, Mad Bum has given up 10 earned runs, 15 hits, three home runs and two walks in just an eight-inning span. His playoff ERA stands at 11.25.
Compounding matters is that the Giants’ starter was dominant through late August. He was 14-7 with a 2.83 ERA and 160 strikeouts compared to just 32 walks following his August 20th start against the Dodgers.
Bumgarner—unfortunately enough—has been positively dreadful ever since.
Including the playoffs, he has posted a 2-6 record with 34 earned runs in 44.2 innings pitched, not to mention just 29 strikeouts against 19 walks. These aren’t favorable numbers to say the least.
Most disturbing is the sheer amount of hits and big flies allowed all too consistently.
What should the Giants do with Bumgarner?
In his last four starts, Mad Bum has surrendered 24 hits and six home runs in a scant 17.2 innings. He simply cannot keep the ball down low enough in the zone on a game-long basis.
He has effectively removed the Giants from contention when he’s been on the mound for the last two months.
No single game encapsulated that more than his latest outing against the Cardinals.
The Giants mounted a furious comeback in the fourth inning, scoring four runs in all. The problem, though, was the daunting six-run deficit created solely by Bumgarner.
San Francisco is simply not predicated on comeback baseball. They put forth a valiant effort, but simply fell short when the Cardinals' shutdown bullpen but the kibosh on their rally.
The question now is how Bumgarner’s start will affect his status moving forward.
Will Bruce Bochy bring him back for Game 5 on Friday? Or will he push his start back or even move him into the bullpen in place of Tim Lincecum?
One thing for certain is that Mad Bum is anything but the man who contributed 16 wins to the Giants’ NLCS-bound season in 2012.
That season might just end where it currently stands if he doesn’t turn things around.
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