Thursday, June 9, 2011

Madison Bumgarner, the New Matt Cain

We all know the story of how Matt Cain was tragically underrated because he failed to accumulate wins. This wasn't because he didn't pitch well. In fact, the opposite was true. In his first four years, he started 104 games and, with an ERA nearly 20 percent better than league average, he went just 30-43 over that span.

Well, it seems as if the baton for poor run support has been passed from Cain to Madison Bumgarner.

This season, Bumgarner has gotten two runs or fewer in support from the Giants anemic offense six times. They have scored four or more runs just four times this season and his overall average for run support is 2.67 a game. That is the only way to explain how he leads the league in losses despite having an ERA of 3.42.

To really hammer things home, take a gander at his fielding independent statistics. His FIP- is 77, which means that he has been 23 percent better than the league average pitcher this season. His tRA+ is 116, which means he has been 16 percent better than league average. Bumgarner has been a good pitcher and should continue to be a good pitcher.

As the losses have piled up, the talk radio callins have become more and more maddening. The calls that he be sent down to Fresno to make room for Barry Zito, despite the fact that since April 27th he has thrown eight straight quality starts with an ERA of 2.01, make me want to pull my hair out.

Bumgarner had a slow start but since then has been a very good pitcher and, if we need another example of why pitching wins is not a great descriptive statistic for pitching talent, look no further than this right here.

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