Generally speaking, I don’t care about pitcher win-loss records. If you asked me off-hand what the record was for one of the Giants’ starters, chances are I wouldn’t be able to guess correctly. I’ve sort of developed a habit when perusing pitchers’ stats, and W-L is just something that — by habit — I don’t ever notice/look at. In any event, there’s a large contingent of baseball fans that do evaluate pitchers on this basis. Even if the stat says little about a pitcher’s performance, people formulate opinions on pitchers because of it. When Madison Bumgarner was 0-6 back in May, I saw multiple suggestions that he be sent down to Triple-A for “seasoning” and such — which was downright ridiculous.
So, while in reality the record has no bearing on his performance this year (and is actually still quite the inaccurate reflection as to just how fantastic he’s been in 2011), it’s almost a relief to see Bumgarner improve his record to 12-12. He’s no longer a “losing pitcher.”
What Bumgarner’s done this season is so impressive that it’s gotten to the point where I almost expect too much out of him. In 15 starts after the disaster game against the Twins, Bumgarner posted a K/9 of 9.85. He’s rapidly becoming an elite starter — one with the ability to induce strikeouts, limit walks, and suppress home runs, a potent combination (if he doesn’t already qualify as one, he’s surely closing in on the title). So is it crazy that in a well-pitched game in which he throws seven innings of one-run ball (zero earned), I’m a little disappointed that he only struck out three? (Probably.)
Anyway, the Giants are rolling right now. Six wins in a row, and they’re now five games out of the wild card, and six back in the NL West. Over this win streak, the Giants have outscored opponents 39-13, and have scored half as many runs as they did during the entire month of August. Brandon Belt‘s homered in back-to-back games; Cody Ross and Chris Stewart also homered in this one; Aubrey Huff collected three hits; and even Madison Bumgarner had a couple hits himself.
Unfortunately, there’s one more injury to add to 2011’s long list: Cody Ross strained his right hamstring, and is out for a week or so. Another disappointment, as he was really starting to get on a roll too — in the month of September, he’s now got 17 hits (55 at-bats), with nine of them going for extra bases.