Madison Bumgarner has become a playoff pistol for Bullet Bruce Bochy’s San Francisco Giants playoff machine. No matter how feeble the offense seems or how shaky their rotation may appear, come October everything falls into place and the Giants are good money, winning World Series c’hips in 2010 and 2012.
Last season, the Giants hit an unusual snag and stumbled to a 76-86 record. Then again, it was an odd year, so Bumgarner's complete game, four-hit shutout in the Giants 8-0 victory Wednesday night over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Wild Card Game is right on time. The 6-5, 235 pound pitching technician threw his first complete game in the playoffs, improves his career playoff record to 4-2 and lowers his ERA to 3.02.
Lets see…There’s Money Mayweather. Everybody knows somebody ill called “Money Mike” (pick a profession) and now we have “Money Madison.” His friends however, call him “MadBum” or “Big Country.” You know how it is. As a baller’s fame increases, so does the number of nicknames he or she accumulates.
Unfortunately for The Bucs, Edison Volquez couldn’t continue to pitch like the Ghost of John Candelaria. Volquez had been lights out during an 18-inning scoreless streak, so Clint Hurdle did as they do in Vegas and gambled on starting the hot-hand over Gerrit Cole, his ace hurler. Problem is the Pirates are from Pittsburgh, which is a town more known for its steel mills than roulette wheels and slot machines. In the end, it was Brendan Crawford’s dirty poker that prevailed as he became the first shortstop in playoff history to hit a Grand Slam and that was all she wrote for the Pirates who once again battle all year and make the playoffs only to bow out prematurely.
Hurdle’s decision to go for the long-shot division crown over the Cardinals and pitch Cole on Sunday—in effect, eliminating him from taking the hill last night—turned out to be a drastic error.
Not that a Cole appearance would have helped much anyway. Bumgarner ( also the brother of Cole’s wifey Amy) had his “A” game clicking and the Pirates had about as good a chance of scoring as Iggy Azalea does of getting recognized in the hood as “The Queen of Hip-Hop.”
The Pirates’ season is a wrap and the rowdy PNC Park piranhas must wait another year to equal the WS feats of Willie Papa Stargell and his “We Are Family” connection.
Those pesky, persistent, playoff Giants, winners of two of the past four World Series, will now face the Nationals in a best-of-five National League Division Series. Game 1 pops off on Friday, Oct. 3 at 3:07 p.m. at Nationals Park.
The starting pitching matchup will have heightened heat as Stephen Strasburg has finally shed the training wheels that deprived him of helping the Nats in the 2012 playoffs and will make his first postseason start – possibly against right-hander Jake Peavy, the pitcher he idolized while he grew up in San Diego and Peavy was MLB-shining and putting his pitch-game down with the Padres.
Peavy is a 13-year MLB vet who is looking forward to schooling young buck Strasburg.
"I want to pitch the weekend as bad as you can ever imagine," Peavy said before Wednesday's win. "My heart and soul will be in prepping for my next start, I promise you that. We'll see how it ends up, but we all in this room believe there's going to be a weekend of baseball."
He was right and now he’s looking to ride another wave to a WS ring, having helped Boston get to the promise land in 2013. With Boston falling back to the pack this season, the Red Sox traded Peavy to the Giants on July 26. After Aug. 13, Peavy posted a 6-1 record and San Francisco won eight of his nine starts, while posting a 1.35 ERA. That’s heavy numbers even for Stephen “Flash”burg.