Madison Bumgarner pitched eight shut out innings to move the San Francisco Giants one game closer to a World Series title. In the 4-0 victory over the Texas Rangers, Bumgarner just needed the two run home run from Aubrey Huff in the third inning.
In 121 major league innings, Bumgarner has a 3.31 so/bb ratio. Today, he struck out six and walked two. He was sharp from start to finish. Brian Wilson finished the game with two strikeouts in the ninth inning.
This game was mostly free of questionable managerial moves. Rangers manager Ron Washington didn't have an opportunity to blow this game. Sure, using Darren Oliver in a two run game was questionable, but the Rangers didn't score a single run.
Going into the World Series, I wrote about how close the starting pitching was between the Giants and the Rangers. Looking at the specific matchups, the Rangers had a clear edge with Colby Lewis over Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez has the stuff to throw a dominating gem, but he also can walk a bunch of batters and get into early trouble. The Rangers also had the advantage with Cliff Lee over Tim Lincecum. Lincecum is an ace and he is capable of out pitching Lee on any given day so that advantage is very small. The Giants have a small edge with Matt Cain over C.J. Wilson, however, it isn't a large enough gap to make a huge difference. All of the games have gone as they should.
Including this game.
Bumgarner has a huge advantage over Tommy Hunter. It's not even close. Hunter doesn't strike out a lot of batters (career 5.1 so/9) and gives up a lot of home runs (career 1.4 hr/9). While he doesn't walk a lot of hitters (career 2.5 bb/9), his control isn't that great to offset the home runs and lack of strike outs.
It would have been fun to see Bumgarner pitch a complete game shut out, it wasn't the worst thing in the world to remove him after eight. That's all they needed from him tonight. And if this reaches a game seven, they will probably need him to replicate his dominance.