The Giants finished the 2017 season with the second-worst record in Major League Baseball. One year ago, like their two NL West counterparts in the D'backs and Rockies this year, the Giants were fighting in the National League Wild Card Game.
As part of his postseason legend, Madison Bumgarner was at his best under the brightest light vs. the Mets. Bumgarner didn't need any bullpen help, throwing a complete game on the road in the Giants' 3-0 victory.
In 2014, Bumgarner did the same thing in the wild card game, tossing a complete game in the Giants' 8-0 win in Pittsburgh. This season, wild-card starters were just a bit less than Bumgarner's level.
Madison Bumgarner threw more innings by himself in last year's NL wild card game (9) than all four wild-card starters did this year (7 1/3).— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 5, 2017
Four starters in the American League and National League Wild Card Game combined for a total of 7 1/3 innings pitched. And that's just the beginning to how much better a one-man-show of Bumgarner was than the four this year.
In the AL, Luis Severino allowed four hits while Ervin Santana allowed three. For the NL, Zack Greinke surrendered six hits and Jon Gray seven hits. Between the four, that's 20 hits. Opposing batters totaled eight hits -- four each year -- in Bumgarner's two wild-card complete games.
Runs aren't even worth looking at. Bumgarner tossed shutouts in both starts. But, what about strikeouts?
The AL pairing did not strike out a single batter. With pitchers hitting, the two in the NL still only caused three whiffs -- two from Gray and one from Greinke.
Between 2014 (10) and 2016 (6), Bumgarner mowed down 16 batters.
Looking to flush this 64-98 season, Bumgarner will be a key ingredient to bringing back more even-year magic for the Giants in 2018.