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Will the Giants get the good or bad Madison Bumgarner in Game 2 tonight?

Oct 25, 2012, 12:46 PM EDT

Madison Bumgarner Getty Getty Images

Madison Bumgarner was bumped from the Giants’ rotation in the NLCS after back-to-back poor playoff starts in which he failed to make it out of the fifth inning, but manager Bruce Bochy is putting his faith in the 23-year-old left-hander tonight.

Bochy chose Bumgarner to make the Game 2 start rather than Tim Lincecum, who was used in relief of Barry Zito in Game 1 last night and has been brilliant for the Giants out of the bullpen all postseason.

Bumgarner has been anything but brilliant as a starter, allowing opponents to hit .385 off him while coughing up 10 runs in eight innings, and he also struggled down the stretch with a 5.89 ERA in his final seven regular season starts.

So why is Bochy trusting Bumgarner in Game 2? Well, for one thing he’s been one of the best left-handers in baseball since joining the rotation in mid-2010 and was the Giants’ second-best starter overall this season, throwing 208 innings with a 3.37 ERA and 191/49 K/BB ratio. And last time Bumgarner took the mound in the World Series he shut out the Rangers for eight innings in Game 4 two years ago, allowing just three hits in one of the best postseason performances ever by a 22-year-old.

“I feel good about Madison,” Bochy said, via Lyle Spencer of MLB.com. “He’s had a great year. He’s done a great job for us since he’s been up here, including postseason. This is a small sample on a couple hiccups he had earlier, and I think he’s getting some much-needed rest and some time to work on making a couple adjustments in his delivery.”

Bochy and the Giants think Bumgarner has corrected some mechanical issues that hurt his performance. Pitching coach Dave Righetti studied video with Bumgarner, who found that he’d been reaching further back in his delivery than usual. “I think throwing the way I was throwing was causing a lot more stress on my body, and that was causing me to tire out more quickly,” Bumgarner said, via Jane Lee of MLB.com. “We got that all worked out now, I think.”

Of course, Jose Valverde also claimed to have corrected a mechanical issue between the ALCS and World Series, and … well, saw how that worked out last night. Bumgarner last started 11 days ago, but he’s been throwing bullpen sessions to stay sharp since then and declared himself “good and ready to go.”

  1. Marty - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Timmy better be able to go two nights in a row.

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Seems odd that they used Lincecum last night with so much uncertainty about Bumgarner tonight. I know you have to win the game at hand, but the Giants are not short on good relievers. Seems like a weapon like Timmy might be best reserved for a night when they need length

    • SOBEIT - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:25 PM

      The bullpen is rested…we have lots of arms to call in for relief and it is travel day before Game3. Mota, Casilla, Affeldt, Lopez and Romo can eat up 5 innings easily. You can also use Timmy for 1 inning if necessary.

      • cur68 - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:43 PM

        Yeah. Timmay can go a whole game so why can’t he can throw 2 innings a day for 3 days straight if he had to?

  3. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Get outta Bum Town, you no-talent bum!

  4. temporarilyexiled - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    If Bumgarner has actually has gotten his house in order, then Bochy/Righetti >Leyland/Jones. If not, we’ve just heard a bunch of standard public relations nonsense from folks that can’t avoid way too many interviews. And if Bumgarner isn’t good, we’re going to see how good Bochy can manage his bullpen, and then it comes down to what the Giants do with Fister. After yesterday, I’m not worried. Let’s see what the Giants do when they’re (shockingly) ahead in a series. Cue more bizarre irony.

  5. paperlions - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    According to the narratives, Bumgarner has to be good, doesn’t he?

    Giants have momentum = good Bumgarner

    Tigers need at least one more game to knock off the rust = good Bumgarner

  6. scatterbrian - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Listened to the game on the radio last night and the generally likeable Jon Sciambi would Not. Shut. Up. about the fact that Lincecum pitching might make him unavailable tonight should Bumgarner run into trouble. It’s as if it’s a forgone conclusion. “Not to second-guess Bruce Bochy, who seems to push all the right buttons…”

  7. richwizl - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    I expect Fister to be good, so Bumgarner had better be, as well. Tigers need to win tonight or they are in big trouble. I think we’ll see a lot of Giants’ bullpen tonight. Expecting Tigers to bounce back in this one.

    • temporarilyexiled - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      Makes sense to me. If the Tigers don’t win tonight, even with the dramatic turnarounds that the Giants have authored in mind, I think we end up with another 2010, and the Giants end up going back to San Francisco for a parade. If you’re right and the Tigers do win tonight, we might just get treated to another seven-game series. And regardless of the outcome, that’d be lots of fun for both fanbases.

  8. exhelodrvr - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    The Giants needed to win one of the first two games. In games 3-7, the starting rotations should favor the Giants, which would give them the edge overall.

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