Sandoval and Pence both could've/should've won the World Series MVP in any other year, but my god, Bumgarner is an absolute beast. You got the feeling he could've thrown shutout innings all night long if he'd had to. And just think, Gordon is one of the few guys in the speedy Royals lineup who COULDN'T have scored on that misplayed ball in the outfield. If Escobar or Cain or Aoki hits that, we might still be in extra innings.
"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." --- Bart Giamatti, on baseball
Bumgarner was a big story of this entire postseason. Before the Wildcard Game, my opinion of him was that he was a quality #3 guy, maybe a #2. My opinion has improved, obviously.
He's now had a pretty good sample size of postseason pitching with a 7-3 record and a 2.13 ERA. Look closer at that and he's 4-0/0.25 in the World Series with three championships.
(all praise to baseball-reference.com, of course)
Another guy whose stock has improved is Bruce Bochy. He'll arguably get some Hall of Fame consideration, now. 4 NL pennants and 3 World Series Championships. Not too shabby, especially in the modern era (roughly 1993- current).
I don't think anyone outside of Giants fans weren't rooting for the Royals. What a great run and fantastic story.
But Madison Bumgarner did something I've never seen last night. Just instill absolute confidence he was gonna do it, and would for as long as he needed. In the era of pitch counts and micro managing exactly how the stars are treated, both he and Bochy said to hell with it. Even though the team I rooted against won, I can't help but tip my cap to one of the most mentally and physically tough young ballplayers I've ever seen. What a show.
When he was asked about how long he thought he would go, and his answer was "until I couldn't get guys out" that tells you what kind of competitor he is. He would have done a Sabathia with the Brewers, throw until your arm falls off, to get that ring (although the Brewers obviously never got it).
For his first go at it, Mike Piazza was pretty good and he might have a future in it once his playing days are over. Fox's experiment of putting active players in the booth for the playoffs has been pretty successful so far, actually.