Giants have to fix Madison Bumgarner before Game 5

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The Giants entered the postseason with Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner in the rotation and no certainties after that. Following Bumgarner’s latest shaky outing against the Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLCS, they have to be wondering whether they can afford to pencil the lefty in for his expected Game 5 start.

Bumgarner was pounded for six runs in 3 2/3 innings by the Cardinals in Sunday’s defeat. He also gave up four runs in 4 1/3 innings in his Game 2 loss to the Reds in the NLDS. Dating back to the regular season, he’s allowed four runs in seven of his last nine starts. He’s turned in just one quality start during that span.

As of Aug. 20, Bumgarner was 14-7 with a 2.83 ERA for the season. Since that date, he’s struggled with his location and demonstrated less fastball velocity. He has a 37/19 K/BB ratio in 44 2/3 innings in his last nine starts. Before that, he had a 160/32 K/BB ratio in 171 2/3 innings.

Unless they can go the next three games without using Tim Lincecum, the Giants aren’t going to be in a position in which they can afford to replace Bumgarner. That seems like a long shot, since it’d likely involve Barry Zito going deep into Game 4. Most likely, they’ll take their chances again with Bumgarner in Game 5, but keep him on a very short leash in the process. They’ll almost certainly need more from him then if they’re going to reach the World Series for the second time in three years.

Andrew Miller placed on the disabled list

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UPDATE: The Indians have placed Miller on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

8:46 AM: Indians reliever Andrew Miller left last night’s game against the Cubs with left hamstring tightness.

Miller threw just two pitches before clutching his leg and leaving the field. He’s day-to-day for now — and manager Terry Francona noted that he had a similar injury a few years back and only missed a few days — but hamstring injuries can be anywhere from annoying to serious, so nothing definitive will be said by the club until he undergoes an MRI. Given how critical he is to the Indians, who are likely postseason bound, figure that the team will err on the side of caution with a DL sting regardless.

Miller has yet to allow a run in ten innings of work.