This week’s spotlight is on the reigning World Series MVP and the San Francisco Giants‘ ace Madison Bumgarner. On the heels of the sixth no-hitter thrown this season by Jake Arrieta, competing in the same division as Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, and with the NL’s additon of Max Scherzer, Bumgarner continues to go about his own business in the City by the Bay. Bumgarner has carried the success he had in the postseason last year into this year and is trying to lead the Giants back to October. In the process he has become one of the more dominant pitchers in the league.
With no-hitters being thrown at a staggering rate, Bumgarner is very much in the group of arms that just may be the next to complete the feat. How frequent are no-hitters being completed? In the 2000s, there were 15 no-hitters thrown. In the 2010s, there has already been 30 turned in. While it may be a product of today’s game where strikeouts are up across the league, and shifts are a part of every defense, no-hitters still cannot be devalued. To be able to get 27 outs without allowing a hit is still an impressive accomplishment for anyone capable of twirling the gem. Over the last two seasons, Bumgarner has shown that he has the stuff to potentially enter that fraternity.
On the year, Bumgarner is second in the majors with 16 wins, sixth in the leagues in strikeouts, and sports an under 3.00 ERA. Along with Arrieta and Greinke, he may very well be a top contender for the National League Cy Young award at season’s end. Of his 26 starts, 18 have been quality starts. In the month of August, among his five starts, two were complete games, and three were highlighted by double-digit strikeouts. What also makes Bumgarner special is that he displays that one-of-a-kind intimidation factor when pitching. Adding to that, Bumgarner is one of the top hitting pitchers in the league as well with nine home runs hit over the last two seasons.
Double-digit strikeouts are often a key component in any no-hit bid. To be able to take down roughly half of the outs in a single game by yourself eliminates a lot of that risk and pressure put on a defense. Bumgarner certainly has that ability to mow down hitters when in a grove. On the heels of the Los Angeles Dodgers being no-hit twice in a nine-day span, how poetic is it that Bumgarner’s next start is Tuesday night in Los Angeles. Could the Dodgers be starring a third no-hitter head on when “Mad Bum” takes the ball on Tuesday?
Madison Bumgarner will be in the spotlight to see if he can not only continue his upward rise to elite status, but he will also be asked to shoulder much of the load if the Giants hope to get back to the playoffs yet again. Bumgarner will also be in the spotlight to see if he can one day add himself to that exclusive list of no-hitters thrown. With him taking the ball against the Dodgers, there is that potential threat that the wait may not be long until the next no-hitter is achieved. Could you imagine if the Dodgers become no-hit three times within a two-week period. Bumgarner has the stuff to make that happen when he takes the ball.