Are you getting a sense of deja vu watching Madison Bumgarner pitch? The Giants’ ace lefty was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for the second time this season following a scalding August that saw him post a 1.57 ERA and rescue the Giants from the doldrums. Bumgarner was also awarded the Pitcher of the Month in May of this season.
With the injury to Matt Cain and the continued implosion of Tim Lincecum, Bumgarner has evolved into the unquestioned ace starter of the Giants’ pitching staff. In the last month, Bumgarner got hot right when the Giants needed it most, leading the team through a resurgent August after a swoon in June and July that saw the Giants cough up first place to the Dodgers.
Bumgarner finished August with a 4-1 record and 1.57 ERA. He struck out 56 batters and, amazingly, walked just three in 46 innings of work. His brilliant month included a one-hit shutout against the Rockies on August 26th, when he carried a perfect game into the eighth inning. He also tossed a complete game shutout against the Mets on August 3rd.
Bumgarner has already equaled his career high with 16 wins, and he still has a shot at becoming the first Giant in more than 20 years to win 20 games if he can stay hot in the season’s final month. Bumgarner’s record this year stands at 16-9, with a 2.97 ERA overall and a sparkling 5.10 strikeout-to-walk ratio (199 whiffs against just 39 walks in 191 innings. He currently ranks second in the National League in wins, fourth in strikeouts, and fifth in strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’d be on the short list for Cy Young talk if Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers weren’t in the middle of a historic season.
If Bumgarner reaches 20 wins, he’d become the first Giants pitcher to reach the mark since John Burkett and Bill Swift both eclipsed it in 1993. Even more impressive, he would also become the first Giants lefty to win 20 games since Ron Bryant did it all the way back in 1973.