Putting Madison Bumgarner is the perfect solution to everything for the San Francisco Giants, getting another magical performance from their ace pitcher who threw a complete game and shutout, beating the Kansas City Royals 5-0 and putting his team one win away from winning the World Series, taking a 3-2 lead.
Bumgarner struck out eight batters and allowed just four hits as he won his second game of the World Series, improving to 4-1 in the postseason. He is giving up a 1.13 ERA in the postseason and 2.27 in the playoffs for his career. In the World Series? It’s down to 0.29, as the Royals for the second time in a week find it almost impossible to get around him. It’s still early in his career (just 25), but he seems to be on his way to being put along some very big and legendary names due to his success when it matters the most.
Winning two games in a row, the Giants are now just one win away from winning the World Series for a third time in five seasons. In 2011 and 2013 they missed the playoffs, but when they do make the postseason, they simply don’t lose a series. Maybe it has to do with some even-year magic, or maybe it has something to do with the managerial work of Bruce Bochy, who has yet to be on the losing side of a playoff series.
While James Shields didn’t do such a bad job in his six innings, it looked bad in comparison to Bumgarner for the second straight time. He gave up eight hits in six innings, allowing two runs. The formidable and feared bullpen came on, but playing from behind, simply wasn’t as effective. Kelvin Herrera gave up two runs in the 8th inning, followed by Wade Davis allowed a run himself, as the Giants finished with 12-for-35 at the plate, including multiple hits for Pablo Sanvodal, Hunter Pence, Trevor Ishikawa and Brandon Crawford.
Crawford had three RBIs in the game, beginning with grounding out in the second inning which allowed Hunter Pence to score. In the fourth inning a single to shallow right allowed Sandoval to reach home plate and Crawford had one more moment of great hitting in the 8th, this time hitting a single to the left side, allowing Juan Perez to score. The Royals put runners in scoring position only twice during the game, failing to convert those situations.
Perez himself hit a big double to get on base, scoring both Sandoval and Pence and then managed to advance to third due to a mistake by Alcides Escobar, as the Royals keep making an error a game when things don’t work so well for them. Ned Yost tried making some changes but once again, it seems that without taking an early lead, every decision he makes to turn games around simply makes things worse.
Before game 4, there was an argument about whether or not to start Bumgarner on short rest. The Giants went with Vogelsong and almost lost the game, but managed to prevail thanks to Petit and some great hitting. That’s a gamble, but a managerial decision that paid off. While a baseball manager might be the most overrated coaching position in professional sports, these decisions decide the fate of games, series and championships. Right now, the Giants seem to be enjoying having the better one.