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Madison Bumgarner is in the best shape of his life

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Add Giants starter Madison Bumgarner to the list of players entering the 2018 season in the best shape of their lives. On Friday, Bumgarner told reporters, including MLB.com’s Chris Haft, that he exercised with greater intensity and frequency this offseason. As a result, Bumgarner said, “I feel as good as I’ve ever felt, as strong as I’ve ever felt. I’m really excited to get started.”

Battery mate Buster Posey said, “He looks as trim and fit as I can remember. Knowing him as long as I have, it doesn’t surprise me. I watch him all year. He’s constantly trying to perfect his craft.”

Bumgarner, 28, missed time between mid-April and mid-July due to injuries sustained in a dirt bike accident. Overall, he made 17 starts, finishing with a 3.32 ERA and a 101/20 K/BB ratio in 111 innings. By most standards, that’s still a solid year, but it marked the highest ERA Bumgarner posted since 2012.

Bumgarner said he wasn’t sure what exactly his motivation was for the serious offseason workout routine, which Haft said included running, weightlifting, Pilates, and yoga. Bumgarner said, “I don’t know what the reason was. There was a little extra motivation. I don’t know if it was because of the year, because of the injury, because of the team that we have this year. Probably a combination of sorts. I asked myself that question this winter, actually, but I never did find an answer.”

The Giants finished 64-98 last season. To their credit, unlike a lot of teams, the Giants made moves to improve over the offseason, acquiring Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen and signing Austin Jackson. FanGraphs is projecting the Giants to go 84-78 in 2018, a 20-game improvement.

The Brewers aren’t going to give up the National League pennant easily

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The Dodgers only need one more win to clinch the NL pennant and advance to a World Series showdown against the Red Sox, but they might not get that chance tonight. Following David Freese‘s leadoff home run off of Milwaukee left-hander Wade Miley, the Brewers erupted for four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take the lead.

In his second start of the NLCS, Dodgers’ southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu had a two-on, two-out situation when Jesus Aguilar came up to the plate in the first inning. Aguilar worked a 2-1 count against Ryu, then lashed a two-run line drive double to right field, bringing both Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun home to score. In the next at-bat, Mike Moustakas drove in Aguilar with a first-pitch double to right, while Erik Kratz‘s RBI single topped off the Brewers’ four-run spread to give them an early 4-1 advantage.

Ryu didn’t get a reprieve for long. In the second, Christian Yelich and Braun went back-to-back with another pair of doubles to advance the Brewers 5-1 above their National League rivals. The lefty was pulled after just three innings of seven-hit, five-run, three-strikeout ball — per MLB.com’s Bill Shaikin, it marked just the second time the 31-year-old had given up four or more runs in a start this season.

The Dodgers started to work their way back in the fifth inning: Freese returned with an RBI double that plated Brian Dozier, who scooted around from first and easily beat the tag at the plate to score the Dodgers’ second run of the night. Together, the teams have combined for five doubles in five innings. The Brewers still lead in the fifth, 5-2.