Madison Bumgarner: Analyzing The Giants' NLCS Game 4 Starting Pitcher

Madison Bumgarner will be taking the mound for the Giants in Game 4 of their NLCS showdown against the Phillies. To help get you ready, we offer the following scouting report.

Vitals

6'4, 215
Left-handed
111 innings
3.00 ERA
7.0 K/9
2.1 BB/9

2010 Playoffs

6 innings, 2 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Repertoire

When Bumgarner showed up in the Majors throwing 89 miles per hour in 2009, there was a lot of talk about his missing velocity. That was uncharacteristic for a guy who could reach the mid-90s in the minors. In 2010, Bumgarner has answered the questions by picking his velocity back up. He now throws a fastball in the low-90s that can touch 94 or 95. That's his primary pitch. His preferred secondary offering is a mid-80s slider. After that, he'll go back and forth between a low-80s changeup with good sink and a mid-70s sweeping curve with good lateral movement. He is neither a groundball nor a flyball pitcher.

Facing Righties

Bumgarner's best swing-and-miss pitch is his slider, and because he's left-handed, righties don't see it a whole lot. Which puts him at a disadvantage. But he makes up for it by throwing a lot of strikes. Bumgarner has good command of the zone, and he's the rare lefty who isn't afraid of working inside against righties. He'll usually start off with a fastball somewhere over the outer half. Behind in the count, he'll gravitate towards the center of the zone, but ahead, he'll reduce his fastball usage and start putting changeups down and away, or sliders inside. He always tries to keep that slider inside, and doesn't go for many backdoors. He'll keep his curve more away. He'll use a high fastball as a strikeout pitch, but he'll also go to a breaking ball on either side. Bumgarner gets more grounders against righties than lefties.

Facing Lefties

Bumgarner's changeup pretty much goes away against lefties, and he becomes a fastball/breaking ball pitcher. He likes to start off with an outside fastball or a slider over the plate. He trusts his slider enough to use it in hitter-friendly counts. In pitcher-friendly counts, the outside breaking balls take over. That's how he gets his misses. His fastball isn't a special pitch, but his slider and curve are more than good enough to keep him in control. Bumgarner has been known to surrender a good amount of fly balls to left-handed hitters.

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