Madison Bumgarner allowed five men to reach base in Game 4—he gave up two walks in the first two innings, and three singles, one apiece to Michael Young, Nelson Cruz and Mitch Moreland (Juan Uribe gave up another man on base on a fielding error). Only one runner made it into scoring position at second base, and none of them reached third or came close to reaching the plate.
He struck out six for good measure, including getting Vladimir Guerrero (a man who has one of the lowest strikeout ratios in baseball) three times. It’s only the second time a left handed pitcher has struck out Guerrero three times in his career and the first time this postseason.
Buster Posey and Bumgarner were the first rookie pairing battery in the World Series since Spec Shea and Yogi Berra in 1947. He’s the fifth youngest pitcher in World Series history, the fourth youngest to win, and the second youngest to throw eight shutout innings (that distinction belonging to 20 year old Jim Palmer).
And this night was his. Grant of McCovey Chronicles waxes eloquently on its signficance.
No matter what the outcome of the series, no matter what nuttiness ensues over final game or three, that was a pitching performance that we’ll bore our kids and grandkids about. We’ll sit on a sunny porch,drinking lemonade and spinning yarns about Madison Bumgarner’s start in Game Four. He threw 104 MPH, he did. He threw sliders that made hitters in the on-deck circle take cover before the balls broke over the plate. He completely broke down one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game in two consecutive at-bats.
Wait, that last one wasn’t embellished. That was a legendary start, and not just in the context of the San Francisco Giants. That was a 21-year-old rookie made of one part grizzled veteran, one part emotionless sociopath, and five parts amazing. Completely unflappable and completely in control.
A rookie pitcher throwing perfect pitches to the rookie catcher who was calling them. A cobbled mix of veterans outhitting and outfielding the opposition. The 2010 Giants are one win away. They’ll have three shots. One win away. The unlikeliness of it all is stunning and beautiful.