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It was the best of pitching; it was the worst of pitching. April 8, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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I’ll be honest. This was scheduled to be a ridiculous gushing post about Madison Bumgarner completing a totally meaningless milestone. After finishing the final game of the World Series and earning a save1, he pitched seven innings to open the season for the Giants this season. That means Madison threw twelve consecutive innings, which sounded pretty impressive.

Unfortunately for Madison, the 2003 version of Josh Beckett did it better. He pitched a complete game to clinch the World Series for Florida and then opened the 2004 season with seven innings of one-run ball.Fortunately, Mat Latos bravely crumbled during last night’s game to provide the sports blogging community with material. Mat was knocked out of the box after only two outs, having given up a respectable seven runs before getting the hook. According to Baseball-Reference, no pitcher has lasted less than one full inning on opening day since 1982.

Latos is, however, in good company with his season-starting ERA of 94.50. Jose Contreras started on Opening Day for Chicago in 2007 and lasted only one inning, giving up 7 runs; Carl Pavano did the same in 2009 for Cleveland, giving up 9 runs in the process. Both salvaged their seasons respectably, but – and this is my Mets homer bias coming out – let’s hope Latos is remarkably consistent this year.

1 This was the right call by the official scorer, but I really wish he’d declared Jeremy Affeldt “ineffective in a brief appearance” to give Mad Bum the win. Yes, I can call 2 1/3 innings of one-hit, no-run ball during which the Giants took the lead they never relinquished both “ineffective” and “brief,” compared to Bumgarner’s five-inning save.

Oh, Madison, You’ll Make Fools Of Us All July 14, 2014

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Just the other day, I said that pitchers don’t reliably hit well enough to consistently earn themselves cheap wins, and then Madison Bumgarner goes and hits a go-ahead (and game-winning) grand slam. Jacob deGrom hit an RBI of his own, but it was as part of a 9-1 Mets rout of the Marlins. Bumgarner actually earned his win (a cheap one, at that) by hitting the go-ahead RBI. Sickeningly, he did the same thing back in April.

Interestingly, Travis Wood is another pitcher who has twice this year had at least as many RBIs as the margin of victory for his team – once in April, once in May, and once in June – although in one case the save was blown. Dan Haren and Edinson Volquez each have two games as well, although Volquez only nabbed one win. A handful of other pitchers have at least one RBI in one-run games as well.

So, Madison, mea culpa. I’m sorry I ever doubted you.