On Sunday, Madison Bumgarner looked like the pitcher that dominated the playoffs in 2014. The San Francisco Giants ace tossed a 14-strikeout, three-hit shutout against the Washington Nationals to help the Giants complete a four game weekend sweep. Madison not only took care of business on the mound, but also cracked his fourth home run of the season to lead the Giants to a 5-0 victory.
It was the second straight complete game for Bumgarner and the third straight game where he allowed one earned run or less. The win raised Bumgarner’s record to 14-6 on the season. Madison is once again coming up clutch when his team needs him the most. At the plate Bumgarner is now batting.245, which is a higher average than Nationals position players Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond.
The Giants have a four game winning streak, while the Nationals are going in the other direction by losing six in a row. The loss also puts the Nationals one game below.500 for the season and they trail the New York Mets by 4 1/2 games in the National League East. Nationals manager Matt Williams doesn’t seemed too fazed by the team’s recent struggles. The Washington Post reported before Sunday’s game that Williams believes they are still right in the race.
“We have a lot to play. Rock bottom? We’re still in this hunt. So no. We’ve got to play better.”
The N.L. West is tight with the Giants just two games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. With Bumgarner firing on all cylinders the defending World Series champions are looking poised to make a move to the top of the standings. As reported earlier at the Inquisitr, the Giants may also be in the market to add some talent as they have been linked to Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley. The San Francisco Chronicle reported earlier that the Giants made a trade offer to the Phillies after Utley cleared waivers last week.
With his recent success, Bumgarner has put himself in the discussion for the N.L. Cy Young Award. He is tied for the league lead in wins and is third in strikeouts. Last season Bumgarner finished fourth in the Cy Young voting.
Do you think the Madison Bumgarner and the Giants have enough to make another run at a World Series title? Are the Washington Nationals in complete freefall mode and should Matt Williams be dismissed?
[Image by Ezra Shaw.Getty Images]