When it came to experience, Game 4 between the Giants and Braves in the NLDS was a mismatch. Derek Lowe was making his 8th playoff appearance and had thrown over 80 career postseason innings, including a strong start in Game 1. Madison Bumgarner is a 21-year-old rookie who got called up late in June by the Giants after making only 18 starts this season. Yet the youngster hung tough with the veteran in a huge playoff game.
Lowe actually took a no-hitter into the 6th inning and left with the lead despite dropping f-bombs on his way out. After the bullpen surrendered the next two runs giving the Giants the lead, Bumgarner was in position to get the win because he was the pitcher of record. The Giants’ bullpen closed it out over the final three innings giving the rookie the victory, but he did plenty to earn it.
Bumgarner was facing a good lineup and only gave up one extra base hit the entire game, a Brian McCann tie-breaking home run in the 6th. His final line was two runs and six hits over six innings with only one walk and five strikeouts.
To give you an idea of how impressive his performance was, at 21 years and 71 days old, Bumgarner was the youngest pitcher to start a postseason game since Bret Saberhagen in 1984. The rookie definitely earned himself a spot in the NLCS rotation with that start, and he and Jonathan Sanchez are proving San Francisco is much more than just Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. Additionally, anyone who argued the Giants made the wrong move leaving the veteran Barry Zito off the NLDS roster was proven wrong, at least for now. Rookies often make a name for themselves in the postseason, and Madison Bumgarner is doing just that.
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