By Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor, The Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – How many times can the pendulum swing in one World Series?
Kansas City entered the Fall Classic with more momentum than any team in the history of baseball. Then Madison Bumgarner happened.
The Royals then put that behind them and showed exactly why they were in this spot, as they won Games 2 and 3 with the same timely hitting, outstanding defense and, of course, incredible bullpen work that allowed them to win the first eight games of this postseason.
But the Giants gave the Royals a bit of their own medicine on Saturday, rallying from a three-run deficit and getting some timely hits of their own, while their own bullpen outperformed Kansas City’s for at least one night in an 11-4 win that evened this best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
Things may have looked bleak in San Francisco after Friday’s loss, but the Giants again have all the momentum.
It appeared as it this was going to be two series for the Giants. There was the game that Bumgarner pitched, then there was everything else. Like Kansas City needing just one win in San Fran to get the series back to Kauffman Stadium, the Giants’ goal in coming back to San Fran was to get another win in the either of the first two games not started by Bumgarner.
Well, mission accomplished.
San Francisco now stands a good chance at going back to Kansas City with the series lead, as it will hand the ball to the best postseason pitcher in baseball on Sunday.
And he will be on full rest.
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy may have given a thought to starting Bumgarner in Game 4, but he made the right move in staying with Ryan Vogelsong, even though he managed to give the Giants just eight outs on Saturday.
Like the Giants lineup when Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland enter the game, the Royals lineup could be just as intimidated with Bumgarner on the hill.
The 25-year-old left-hander may not win an NL Cy Young Award this season, but he has established himself as the best money pitcher in the sport right now.
Bumgarner gave up one run over seven innings to beat the Royals in Game 1. His only mistake was a two-out home run to Royals catcher Salvador Perez in the seventh inning, which ended his MLB-record scoreless innings streak on the road at 33 2/3 frames.
It was also the first run he had surrendered in three World Series starts, spanning 21 innings, dating back to 2012.
Bumgarner’s 3-1 with a 1.40 ERA in five starts this postseason and he’s also won all three of his World Series starts with an 0.41 ERA. His six straight postseason starts of seven-plus innings with seven or fewer baserunners is also an MLB record.
His only loss this postseason, though, came at AT&T Park.
Oh and in case anyone was wondering, even though the Giants scored 11 runs it only counts as one win. By the way, none of those runs scored against the Kansas City bullpen came against guys with the last name of Herrera, Davis or Holland.
After all this the season comes down to a best-of-three.
Buckle in … I have a feeling this one is going seven.