San Francisco Giants starter Madison Bumgarner turned what could have been bried relief stint in Game 7 of the World Series to the near equivalence of another quality start…and probably could have kept on going.
On two days rest, but throwing on a normal side session day, Bumgarner dialed it up one more time and retired 14 Royals hitters in a row. As the Royals did all season and even in the postseason against Oakland, they found a way to make it interesting.
Alex Gordon’s two out single in the bottom of the ninth, got past center fielder Gregor Blanco and rolled to the wall. left fielder Juan Perez booted the ball on the track and Gordon motored to third. Tying run, 90 feet away, game not over just yet.
But, Bumgarner came back to get Salvador Perez to foul out to third baseman Pablo Sandoval and the Royals lost Game 7 by a 3-2 final.
Bumgarner, for going 2-0 with a five-inning save and posting a 0.43 ERA in the World Series, took home the MVP honors. He certainly deserved it. It was helped along the way and I’m not making excuses, but the one thing Royals hitters displayed all season was discipline at the plate.
In this final game, the players were pressing, by continuing to chase balls up and out of the strike zone. They swung at too many balls out of the zone, including the last at-bat for Perez, who would have drawn four straight balls had he kept the bat on the shoulder.
I could see and hear the frustration mount as Royals hitter after hitter popped up, struck out or hit the ball softly, Fox Sports could pick up the grunts and I could see the players slamming their bats.
Bumgarner flustered them all series.
The MVP for San Francisco, could have also gone to Hunter Pence. Yes, Bumgarner was spectacular, but he was also aided by two, five-run victories. Game 5 was a 2-0 game heading into the eighth, but a three-spot for San Fran in that game allowed him to finish up the complete game.
Pence had a seven game hit streak. He found himself at the center of most rallies, getting 12 hits and three walks, driving in eight runs and scoring eight times. Pence singled in both innings that the Giants scored.
In the end, it just came down to the Royals not having an answer for one pitcher. Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland did their jobs again, combining for 5.2 innings of shutout ball as Herrera kept it a one-run game coming into rescue Jeremy Guthrie.
Its difficult to find disappointment in a team that poured their heart and soul into this season.