SAN DIEGO Madison Bumgarner was not auditioning for a spotin the Giants postseason rotation Saturday night. Hes one of their horses, asmanager Bruce Bochy reiterated after the game.
The only question is where to slot Bumgarner after MattCain.
And no, Bumgarner did not look like a solid No. 2 starterwhile giving up a pair of home runs in just four innings of a 7-3 loss to theSan Diego Padres at Petco Park.
But in a sense, he firmed up that place in the rotation. Ifthe Giants enter the playoffs as the No. 3 seed, which is looking close tocertain at this point, they would host the first two games at AT&T Park.
And Bumgarners homeroad splits provide a compelling reasonto make sure the big left-hander takes the mound at AT&T Park and nowhereelse.
Bumgarner is 10-3 with a 2.38 ERA at home. With Saturdaysloss, he fell to 7-7 with a 4.40 ERA on the road. And of his 23 home runsallowed, the most by a Giants pitcher since Barry Zito in 2007, all but five ofthose longballs have come on the road.
Oh, we look at all the variables, said Giants managerBruce Bochy, asked about Bumgarners splits. That plays a little part.
The rotation plays a huge part in any postseason drive, andthe Giants pitching staff will not enter the playoffs on the same roll as twoyears ago, when the club posted a 1.78 ERA in September, 2010.
Bumgarner pitched like he was cramming for a midterm,knowing this would be his last chance to iron out issues before the postseason.
I cant go out there and pitch against a big league ballclub and try to work on mechanics, he said. That never works. That might bethe problem. Im thinking about it instead of going out there and throwing it.
Bumgarner is too big a piece to be hidden at home for the entirepostseason. Hell have to execute his pitches better, regardless of where orwhen hes asked to take the ball. The same is true for the rest of therotation.
Right now, hes having trouble repeating pitches and gettingthe ball inside to right-handed hitters. What about his confidence?
Its good, he said. Im not worried about anything. Ivegot plenty of time to work on it. Ive just gotta be able to make pitches whenit counts.
He could work on it with an inning in Wednesdays seasonfinale at Dodger Stadium. Bochy did not discount that possibility, especiallysince Bumgarner would have the longest layoff of all the starters as they enterthe postseason.
That 20-win season didnt materialize, as Bumgarner went 7-7after the break. But he exceeded 208 innings for the first time, finished with191 strikeouts -- exactly as many as a year before -- and shaved down his hitsallowed and WHIP, even if those 23 home runs undid most of those gains.
Still, Bochy looks at Bumgarners drivers license and willtake that kind of season from a 23-year-old.
Its been a real nice season for him, Bochy said. Likeeverybody, hes had his little rut there. Today hes fighting himself. Butoverall, an outstanding season. Hes one of our horses and hes done a reallynice job.