The Baseball Notebook

November 1, 2010 8:00 AM

Bumgarner Puts Giants On Brink

WorldSeriesGame4.jpgI was critical of Texas' decision not to start Cliff Lee on short rest for Game 4, but in retrospect it worked out okay for the Rangers--because who they put on the mound mattered not one iota last night as San Francisco's 21-year old lefty Madison Bumgarner stole the show in throwing eight innings of shutout ball. It's the second time in this Series that San Francisco pitching has blanked the powerful Ranger bats and they are now one win from their first title on the West Coast and the first for the organization since Willie Mays, Leo Durocher and the New York Giants won it all in 1954.

Bumgarner's counterpart, young Tommy Hunter, pitched better than I expected, making only one mistake, the pitch that Aubrey Huff turned into a towering shot inside the right-field foul pole for all the runs that Frisco would need. Ron Washington pulled him after four innings--I'm not sure why--but Hunter handled himself well, and Washington can feel better about bringing him back in relief if the situation should necessitate itself.

Tonight the aces are back on the hill. Game 1's Cliff Lee vs. Tim Lincecum didn't live up to its billing and turned into an 11-7 slugfest. I would expect both starters to come back strong tonight, particularly Lee, who's pitching at home and for a lot of money on his free-agent contract. Not that he won't already be filthy rich, but after postseason gem drives up the asking price a little more. Lincecum has the cushion of not only having a 3-1 series lead, but his team going back home and having Matt Cain in reserve for Game 6. I like Texas' chances if they can push this Series to a seventh game, but the odds are long for getting there.

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Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily MLB playoff coverage and game analysis in college football and the NFL. He is the author of The Last New Year's, a book that revisits the historic high points of college football's New Year's Day bowl games.

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