Madison Bumgarner Proving Cubs Need Their Own October Ace
As Madison Bumgarner continues to own this postseason, one thing seems perfectly clear today: The Cubs need themselves one of those guys.
Often, the postseason can often come down to one hot pitcher mowing his way through to a championship. We have seen it many times before, but Bumgarner is making it look especially easy this year. In his six postseason starts, Bumgarner has struck out 41 batters, walked six, allowed just 26 hits, and flashed a 1.13 ERA. Jonah Keri took a closer look at his dominance this fall.
If we tack on his brilliant start in Game 2 of the 2012 World Series, Bumgarner’s last seven postseason starts net this stat line: 54.2 IP, 28 H, 8 BB, 49 K, 0.99 ERA. The craziest thing about his playoff résumé might be this: In Game 1 of this year’s World Series, Bumgarner went seven innings, allowing just one run on three hits … and it was the worst of his four career World Series starts.
The Cubs are fully aware that they need to add impact starting pitching, and they plan on pursuing the likes of Jon Lester and James Shields as soon as the offseason festivities begin.
Now, paying for hurlers that are already north of 30 isn’t quite the same as having a young stud such as Bumgarner, 25. Yet, that is the reality the Cubs are facing. They know they are going to have to pony up to get their potential Game One starter for now.
Even if the Cubs were to acquire Lester or Shields, and Jake Arrieta follows up his brilliant 2014, the need will still be there for them to either draft or acquire via trade a younger impact arm that could pay dividends down the line in future postseasons.
Thus far under the current regime, the Cubs have made it a point to bet on bats in the first round of the amateur draft.
I will not argue with that strategy one bit, but there will come a time where this front office will need to inject some impact arms of their own, ideally without having to overpay with either money or top prospects.
The Cubs are going to eventually want their own version of Bumgarner.
In the meantime, Lester has provided a nice postseason resume of his own; in 12 starts, he owns a 2.57 ERA.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are no strangers to going out and getting a top playoff hurler, as they made Curt Schilling their target back in 2003, while they were in Boston.
In fact, Hoyer sacrificed his stomach and a hotel room during the process to land Schilling. Hoyer accompanied Epstein to the Schilling family Thanksgiving dinner to secure the ace they needed at the time, apparently getting some serious digestive distress from it in the process.
Epstein and Hoyer felt they desperately needed Schilling to help slay the Yankees and get bring home the missing piece to a ring to Boston.
Let’s just hope the Lester family has some Pepto on hand this Fall, just in case.