I, for one, had a ton of doubts about Madison Bumgarner through the first month of the season - he had two disasterous starts followed by a few solid outings. Which one was the real Bumgarner?
After his last start where he struck out 8, walked 2, and allowed 0ER over 7 innings it is safe to say that his first two starts were not indicative of some great prospect gone awry.
Since his 2nd start on April 14, Bumgarner has compiled the following statistics:
6 Starts / 35 IP / 1.54 ERA / 0.943 WHIP / 22 hits / 6 ER / 26 K / 11 BB
On April 14 his ERA stood at somewhere around 14.00 after his first two games. Now he has whittled it down all the way to 3.64 and owns a 3-1 record.
His K rate is down compared to recent years. Over his last 6 starts, he has a 6.7 K/9 but also has a 2.8 BB/9. His command is up, confidence it up, velocity is up, and has allowed 1 HR over that span compared to 3 HR allowed over his first two starts.
He has now demonstrated that he has regained much of his form and is able to get advanced hitters out consistently. He won't turn 21 until August and may well be pitching in San Francisco by that time as well. Word is that he fixed a mechanical issue and I think he also needed some time to clear his head after a marriage and death in the family. There isn't much talk of his velocity anymore as his is consistently in the 91-93 MPH range and has improved and added secondary pitches.
He has never had an ERA above 2.00 at any level, but it seems this may be the year that he beaks that barrier - but I suspect not by much if he really is back to his old ways. Welcome back Mr. Bumgarner.