The San Francisco Giants are employing a new strategy that stands to take the rest of the league by storm. They have decided to no longer allow the opposing team to score any runs. For the fourth game in a row, the Giants shut out their opposition, this time beating the Cincinnati Reds by the score 5-0. The victory not only allows the team to put its thumb on its nose while stretching out its hand, wiggling its fingers and saying “nana nana boo boo” to the offenses of the National League, it also buoyed the team into sole possession of first place in the National League West.
Last night’s win came on the back of Madison Bumgarner’s complete game, one-hit shutout, in which he allowed only two walks, while collecting eight strikeouts and firing four snot rockets. It was a phenomenal effort, and one that stands out most especially because of his dominant cutter.
Now, I normally despise assigning linear weights to individual pitches because such numbers completely ignore the most important aspect of what makes an individual pitch dominant which is the pitch or pitches that came before it. Without pitch chains, you have an incomplete story. However, for the sake of fun, if we isolate Bumgarner’s cutter usage from last night we see the following:
Of his 107 pitches, 38 were cutters. Of those 38 cutters, 31 were thrown for strikes. Of the 31 cutters thrown for strikes, 24 were strikes that weren’t put into play. Of the 24 cutters thrown for strikes that weren’t put into play, 10 were swings and misses from the opposing batters. Of the seven cutters that were put into play, each and every one resulted in an out for Bumgarner.
Perhaps more remarkable than his cutter, which Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles likened to something Al Leiter threw later in his career, was the command with which Bumgarner dealt last night, which has previously been likened to Cliff Lee’s. He threw 72 of his 107 pitches for strikes, but once again it was the fashion with which he did it, hitting his catcher’s glove wherever Buster Posey set it up, both in and outside of the zone, as if it was a video game.
While we’re on the subject of remarkable, we must also mention that Bumgarner is locked up through 2017 at a total cost to the Giants of $35.56 million. To put this in perspective, it’s worth noting that earlier yesterday, the Los Angeles Dodgers committed $42 million for seven years of a Cuban outfielder who has never even played anywhere close to the Major League level. Of course a flat out comparison isn’t exactly fair, given the difference in conditions that surround an international free agent and a drafted player coming up through the system, going through years of renewed contracts, salary arbitration and eventually free agency.
However, Bumgarner, with all that he’s already accomplished in his career to date, is still so incredibly young. Coming into this season, we heard a lot about Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect Matt Moore and how great of a pitcher he was to become. Let this sink in for a second: Moore is a month and a half older than Bumgarner. In fact, there are only seven pitchers in the entire league that are younger than him.
And The Rest
One of those seven pitchers is Arizona Diamonbacks prospect Trevor Bauer who made his Major League debut last night. It didn’t go all that well, as he only lasted four innings, but he only gave up two runs over that time. More impressive than anything else he did last night though was his warm up for the game. [ESPN SweetSpot]
The Arizona Diamonbacks have suspended commentator Daron Sutton for continuing to wear his suit. Like, an actual suit. Not even his birthday one. [Big League Stew]
It’s just your typical fan-gets-hit-by-stray-bullet-at-a-baseball-game story. [FOX Sports Florida]
Seattle Mariners starter Felix Hernandez also had a pretty good night yesterday. [Lookout Landing]
Pitchers that never get hurt. Is health a skill? [ESPN]
It’s the end of the Chad Qualls era in Philadelphia. [Crashburn Alley]
The Philadelphia Phillies are apparently shopping Jim Thome to American League clubs for their stretch run. [ESPN]
The Houston Astros are considering removing the train from their ballpark. No! [Ultimate Astros]
Adam Dunn’s very, very, very, very interesting season. [Chicago Mag]