October 26, 2012
World Series Game Two Recap: Giants 2, Tigers 0
In Game One, we got a blowout, which is another way of saying we got one half of a pitcher’s duel. In Game Two, we got the whole duel. Both starters got through their first six innings unscathed. Both starters' lines showed fewer baserunners allowed than innings pitched. Both starters watched Andy Pettitte when they were younger and decided to steal that thing he does with his glove before each pitch.
The fastest pitch Doug Fister threw went 90.2 miles per hour, and the fastest pitch Madison Bumgarner threw went 90.7. If you like watching batters get blown away, you were probably bored by Bumgarner and Fister, but if you’re a fan of finesse pitchers (or Sergio Romo’s slider), this was one of the best combined pitching performances you’ve seen all season.
Bumgarner’s command was missing in his first two postseason starts, but it was nearly perfect last night, as the World Series again brought out the best in him. He put most of his pitches where he wanted them and avoided making any serious mistakes. Against left-handed hitters, he stayed away almost exclusively:
Against right-handed hitters, he got fouls on the inside corner, called strikes on the outside corner, and swinging strikes up, completely avoiding the heart of the zone:
In the seventh inning, he got Miguel Cabrera to swing at and miss a 90-mph fastball; as Dan Brooks reported on Twitter, Cabrera had swung through only 11 fastballs slower than 91 mph all season. In that plate appearance, Bumgarner threw nothing over the plate between the waist and the knees, nibbling at the edges of the zone and mixing up his horizontal and vertical locations from pitch to pitch.
The only time he doubled up on location was from the third pitch to the fourth, when he followed a slider over the plate up with a fastball just a bit higher. Even though Cabrera had just seen a pitch in a similar location, his bat had been slowed by the slider just enough to make this miss possible: