World Series Game 7 serves as reminder of Madison Bumgarner's greatness

World Series Game 7 serves as reminder of Madison Bumgarner's greatness

The World Series is going to a Game 7, and both the Astros and Nationals pitching staffs are loaded with starters that both teams should feel comfortable giving the ball to in the winner-take-all game on Wednesday.

But none of them are Madison Bumgarner.

Zack Greinke. Max Scherzer. Gerrit Cole. Stephen Strasburg. Justin Verlander. That's a who's who of future Hall of Fame starters.

But none of them are the best postseason pitcher of all time.

It's not even debatable at this point. When it comes to playoff baseball, there has never been a more clutch pitcher than Bumgarner, as he proved time and time again throughout the Giants' dynasty.

Now, you can be sure that both Houston manager A.J. Hinch and Nationals manager Dave Martinez will have the utmost confidence in Greinke and Scherzer, who are expected to start Game 7 for their respective sides. After all, the two pitchers have combined for four Cy Young awards, 12 All-Star appearances and been worth a combined 125.4 wins above replacement over the course of their careers.

But if you hooked the managers up to a polygraph and asked them if they would rather have their guy or Bumgarner taking the mound Wednesday, they'd either give the correct answer, or the needles would be jumping all over the place.

You don't have to go back any further than the last time MadBum took the ball in a World Series game to confirm his relative superiority.

Exactly five years prior to the Nationals' Game 6 victory on Tuesday, pitching on only one day of rest, Bumgarner came out of the bullpen and threw five scoreless innings to close out San Francisco's Game 7 victory over the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 World Series. It was the culmination of the greatest postseason performance in MLB history, as Bumgarner laid waste to the competition throughout those playoffs, posting a 1.03 ERA with 45 strikeouts over 52.2 dominant innings, including two complete-game shutouts.

To take it a step further, over five career World Series appearances, Bumgarner has an utterly ridiculous 0.25 ERA.

You can't top that.

Both Greinke and Scherzer surely will try, and even if they fall short, that's no knock against them. Rather, it would serve as a reminder of the historical greatness that Bumgarner so often provided to the Giants in their greatest times of need.

Bumgarner will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and while he's not the same pitcher he was throughout the three World Series runs, he proved this season that he still has plenty left in the tank. The Giants aren't the same team they were during those runs, either, but then again, they snuck into the Wild Card Game in 2014, and we know how that turned out.

[RELATED: Giants' 2019 roster churn was historic, but led to keepers]

No one would fault Bumgarner if he decided to leave San Francisco in free agency. He's earned that right, and deserves the chance to showcase his postseason mastery again at some point.

The Giants certainly will try to keep him, just as both the Astros and Nationals gladly would take him for Wednesday if they could.

Dodgers getting Astros' titles still wouldn't match Giants' decade


Dodgers getting Astros' titles still wouldn't match Giants' decade

The outrage continues in Tinseltown.

As the fallout from the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal continues, many have called into question the Astros’ 2017 World Series title, a thrilling seven-game series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

With the championship appearing to be tainted by Houston’s systematic tracking of pitching signals, the Los Angeles city council unanimously passed a resolution last week urging Major League Baseball to rescind the victory from the Astros and award it to the runner-up Dodgers. The resolution also included the 2018 World Series, which the Dodgers lost to the Boston Red Sox in five games. Boston remains under investigation for similar allegations.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred pushed back on the idea, pointing to the MLB’s history with not altering the past.

“Whatever the impact of the sign stealing was, it could have changed who was in the World Series,” Manfred said earlier this week on Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria." “It’s absolutely unclear that the Dodgers would have been the World Series champion. I think there's a long tradition in baseball of not trying to change what happened. I think the answer from our perspective is to be transparent about what the investigation showed and let our fans make their own decision about what happened.”

Followers of the Giants’ archrival definitely made up their own minds, as they flocked to Dodgers FanFest on Saturday.

Pantone 294, one of the Dodgers’ fan groups, also has organized an outing to the Los Angeles Angels’ home opener against the Astros. The group’s website wants LA fans to flock to Anaheim and “support the team that's playing the game we all know and love the right way!”

Even if by Manfred pulled a complete 180 and decided to not only take away championships from both Houston and Boston, but award them to the Dodgers, they’d still have fewer rings than the Giants have won over the past 30 years.

Nothing got the fans in LA more fired up than watching the Giants bring home three World Series titles over a five-year stretch, firmly cementing them as the NL West's team of the decade.

We all know this isn’t emblematic of every Dodgers fan, as many have voiced their opinion that being awarded two championships doesn't mean anything after the fact, especially when everyone watched them get obliterated by the Red Sox in five games and only score one run in Game 7 against the Astros in 2017.

No matter how many signs might have been stolen, only scoring one run in a World Series game isn't going to get you a win in almost every situation.

Some players, including third baseman Justin Turner, made it clear they aren't interested in receiving a ring that doesn't feel earned.

Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling, however, is cheering on fans choosing to waste their time and money heckling Houston.

“I like it,” Stripling said (h/t Los Angeles Times). “The Dodger fans are fired up. If they want to do their part, and they think that is what it is, then kudos to them. Go do it.

“I know that they’re passionate, and they wanted a championship as much as we did. Obviously, they have still got some fire in their belly to go fight for us.”

[RELATED: Mailbag: Will Beede, Webb be with Giants come Opening Day?]

While the official punishments likely are over for the Astros, it appears they still will be living rent-free in many Dodger fans’ heads all season long.

Meanwhile, Giants fans can sit back and enjoy three, controversy-free World Series trophies residing inside Oracle Park.

MLB rumors: Former Giants GM Bobby Evans interviewed for Astros job

MLB rumors: Former Giants GM Bobby Evans interviewed for Astros job

A little over a year after he was fired, former Giants general manager Bobby Evans could land on his feet.

Evans interviewed for the open Houston Astros general manager position, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday, citing sources.

Evans spent four seasons as the general manager of the Giants before being reassigned within the organization at the end of the 2018 season. Including the 2019 season, Evans has spent the last 26 seasons in San Francisco.

The Astros are in need of a new GM and manager after Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch were fired in the fallout from the sign-stealing scandal that has rocked baseball in recent weeks.

Houston is tainted at the moment, but Evans would be inheriting a roster that still possesses the talent to compete for a World Series, with or without trash cans.

While serving as assistant general manager for the Giants, Evans helped lead to the team to World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014. But his tenure as GM wasn't as successful. A lot of the moves Evans made, including the signings of Mark Melancon, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Denard Span, didn't lead to the desired results.

[RELATED: Evans' dismissal hard on Giants players]

With Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris at the helm of the Giants, it makes sense for Evans to consider outside opportunities, even if the Astros are the black eye of baseball.

Both Evans and the Astros need second chances, so this could be the perfect marriage if the two sides can come to an agreement.