The San Francisco Giants multi-tasked nicely in World Series Game 4: they put on an all-world defensive clinic, became only the second team in 2010 to shut out the Texas Rangers at home, and introduced yet another young phenom pitcher to the baseball world.
They also won Game 4 by a score of 4-0, taking a dominating 3-1 lead over Texas in the 2010 World Series.
The hard-charging Texas Ranger offense batted .276 in the 2010 regular season– the highest of any MLB team. In Game 4 Sunday night, the Rangers were shut out for the second time in four World Series games, as their mighty bats hit the ultimate immovable object: Giant pitching. Rookie starter Madison Bumgarner made Series history as he shut out the Rangers for 8 innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 walks, striking out 6.
Closer Brian Wilson took just 11 pitches to complete the team shut-out in the 9th, striking out Rangers Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton in a 1-2-3 inning.
For those baseball afficiandos who wondered just who Madison Bumgarner is, it may be time to put down their Baseball Digests and start paying serious attention to the game. Bumgarner was the first pick by the Giants in the first round of the 2007 Amateur Draft, and the 10th pick overall. From 2008 to the first half of 2010, his minor league stats were outstanding: 34-6 with a 2.00 ERA. After a short stint at the end of the 2009 season, the Giants brought Bumgarner up for good last June– his first start was a June 26, 2010 loss against the Boston Red Sox.
In World Series Game 4, Bumgarner showed the same mental discipline and focus he demonstrated throughout the second half of the 2010 season. His signature sling-shot delivery and ability to move his fastball up and down around all corners of the plate had Ranger hitters off balance throughout the game. Bumgarner is 21 years old, but think about this: in July 2009, he was 19 years old.
It has been noted throughout the media, but it’s worth repeating: the Buster Posey-Madison Bumgarner tandem was the first all-rookie World Series battery since 1947, and Bumgarner is the 5th youngest pitcher in the history of the World Series.
The epic pitching battles of the 2010 post season continue tonight, as the Giants try to wrap up their first World Series victory since moving to San Francisco in 1958, and their first as a franchise since 1954. It’s Tim Lincecum versus Cliff Lee and it should be, as the great Yogi Berra once put it, “a real cliff dweller.”