The MLB is blessed right now with an abundance of “ace worthy” starting pitchers. In a league that previously went through the steroid era, the year(s) of the pitcher have returned. From Harvey to Scherzer and Hernandez to DeGrom, teams are ridiculous to think that you can win with a line up of hitters oppose to a dynamic starting rotation (The Red Sox I’m talking to you). But out of all the great starters in the league, I would have to say that Madison Bumgarner of the reigning World Series Champion San Francisco Giants is head and shoulders above the others. After squaring off yet again with another great Clayton Kershaw, I thought it was a good time to bring up this conversation.
Now, I know I’m not breaking any news with this, but I think it is worth bringing up how good this man can pitch. Maybe before the title run last season many would have said Clayton Kershaw was the best pitcher in the league. Which is fine, respectable, but there is no question after what was done last October and what Bumgarner continues to do now puts him as king of the pitchers in the MLB.
Lets start with his overall playoff numbers. Bumgarner holds a stunning 2.14 ERA over the course of 3 playoff seasons and 12 starts. With only 15 walks over 88.1 IP and 77 strikeouts, no hitter looks forward to facing “MadBum.” In just last year alone, his ERA was even lower at 1.03 and only gave out 6 free passes. The man put the Giants team on his back and brought them to the winners circle. Clearly he deserved the MVP award, and the 6 beers after advancing to the World Series. All while Bumgarner did this, Kershaw sat at home, crushed he couldn’t put the team on his back.
As I say all of this, I should clarify where I stand with Clayton Kershaw. Yes, he is in the top 5 for best pitchers in baseball. I don’t want to sound like the comparison is BS, it isn’t. But when Kershaw gets to the playoffs and crumbles in multiple years, it puts an asterisk on his in season success. Yes, his in season numbers are hands down the best we have seen in a very long time, and yes his curveball may be as nasty as Kevin Ware’s broken leg, but my point is he simply can’t get it done in the playoffs and that isn’t someone I want on my team if I want to win the World Series.
For this season, Bumgarner’s World Series hangover is non existent, posting a 2.84 ERA and has a 5-2 record thus far. Madison Bumgarner continues to amaze me. I was excited to see these two elite pitchers face off in San Fran. It was hyped by the mothership (ESPN) that we were seeing the two best pitchers in baseball square off. My point in all of this is that Madison Bumgarner is much better than Clayton Kershaw. Think I’m wrong? Just to prove his point, Bumgarner hit a monster first pitch fastball Home Run against Kershaw.
(Click image to play video)
What can’t this guy do?
For those of you who missed the game, MadBum went 6.1 innings, allowing no runs and striking out 6. Kershaw pitched 7.1 innings allowing 4 earned and striking out 7. The Giants used those 4 runs to beat the Dodgers 4-0 in San Francisco.