Madison Bumgarner has not played well in the postseason...
In fact he hasn't played well in his last 3 starts not having completed 5 innings in any of them. In September he went 2-2 with a 5.47 ERA.
In his first postseason start this year he went 4 and a third and allowed 4 runs on the way to a Giants loss that put us in a 0-2 hole. Yesterday, Bumgarner was inexplicably named the Game 1 starter for the NLCS and proceeded to give up 6 runs in 3 and 2/3 to put the Giants in a 0-1 hole to begin the 7 game series.
Maybe it was the fact that it came on one of the worst Bay Area sports days with the 49ers and Raiders also losing, but this was my last straw with Bum.
In case you were wondering when the last time he had a performance this bad, the answer would be August 20... in 2011... that was the last time he gave up as many as 6 runs in a start, although he pitched 6 and 2/3 against the Astros that day. The last time he came out of a game having pitched less than 4 innings was June 21, 2011 where he gave up 8 runs in the first inning to the Minnesota Twins while recording only one out.
Point is, he's very consistent and has not had starts this bad for over a year. With his 2 starts so far, he's got a disgusting looking 11.25 ERA in this postseason. Not really what you look for in your Game 1 starter.
So that brings us to the pertinent question.
What do the Giants do now?
Tim Lincecum seems to be everyone's answer and it does seem simple enough. Timmy has a good track record against the Cardinals, he's been stellar in his 3 relief appearances and he's primed and ready to make a start to perhaps replace Madison in the rotation for this series.
But, wait! Wasn't Timmy also supposed to replace a struggling Barry Zito who did equally poorly against the Reds? We ended up winning that game, but it was thanks to Timmy's 4 innings of relief that kept us in that game. If you start Timmy, then you can't also have him in the bullpen, and you'd be left with either Bumgarner or Zito in the pen whom Bochy may not even use because of the Cardinals' righty heavy lineup.
Although Lincecum has done great in the pen and is a great guy to have in the bullpen in case the starter that day is having a bad day, it does seem to smack of "playing not to lose" instead of gripping this series by the horns and winning.
This is how the NLCS rotation should look like from Game 2
Game 2 - Vogelsong
Game 3 - Cain
Game 4 - Zito
Game 5 - Lincecum
In case we're down 0-3, I think Lincecum and Zito flip flop. Bumgarner will be on garbage duty in case we're losing or winning by a lot.
Either way, I see tonight's game as a must win. Vogelsong is the man for the job though. He's a righty, he's been pitching great his last few outings and he does amazing at home. Lets not get back to elimination game mode...
Laws of the Day
No NL team has ever come back to win the NLCS after losing Games 1 and 2