Madison Bumgarner is doing his best to keep the Giants in the race.
He allowed two hits and matched his career high with 11 strikeouts over eight innings in a 4-0 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday. It was just his ninth win of the season, but the Giants did improve to 9-4 in his last 13 starts.
Bumgarner himself is 9-12 with a 3.43 ERA. That’s because the Giants have scored a total of 88 runs in his 28 starts, an average of 3.14 per game. It’s low even by their standards: they’re averaging 3.43 runs per game when he doesn’t start.
But Bumgarner is coming into his own. He’s up to 157 strikeouts in 173 1/3 innings for the season. He’s 11th in the NL in K/9 IP, sixth in HR/9 IP and 7th with a 3.83 K/BB ratio, all at the tender age of 22.
Bumgarner doesn’t fare quite so well in the ERA rankings, in part because he had maybe the worst start by any major leaguer this season: eight earned runs and nine hits in one-third of an inning against the Twins back on June 21. But he’s had 13 starts in which he’s allowed one or no earned runs.
It seems obvious that he’ll have to keep it up if the Giants are going to have any chance of overtaking the Diamondbacks in the NL West. Fortunately, he’s looking like the game’s youngest stopper at the moment.
The Sox’ winning streak ends at 11, thanks in part to Gary Sanchez continuing to hit like Barry Bonds or someone. Well, not quite Bonds, but his 20 homers in 49 games is ridiculous. I’d say “at some point pitchers need to stop giving him stuff to hit,” but this dude drove in a run when someone tried to intentionally walk him a week or two ago, so maybe there is nothing that can be done. In any event, Boston’s loss, along with the Blue Jays win, means that the AL East is not quite settled. It likely is practically, but not technically!
In other news, the Tigers pounded the Indians and their post-clinch, hungover lineup and, with the Orioles’ loss, pull a game closer in the Wild Card. The Mets pounded the Marlins who, one suspects, can only run on emotion so long and desperately want and ned to be with their loved ones to process this past week. The Cards and Giants both won as well, keeping the NL Wild Card at the status quo for another day: the Mets and Giants in, if the season ended today, the Cards one back.
Yankees 6, Red Sox 4
Nationals 4, Diamondbacks 2
Cubs 6, Pirates 4
Blue Jays 5, Orioles 1
Tigers 12, Indians 0
Braves 7, Phillies 6
Mets 12, Marlins 1
Royals 4, Twins 3
Rangers 6, Brewers 4
White Sox 13, Rays 6
Astros 8, Mariners 4
Cardinals 12, Reds 5
Angels 8, Athletics 1
Padres 7, Dodgers 1
Giants 12, Rockies 3
Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.
In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.
Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”
Here’s the video.