Madison Bumgarner is perhaps the best playoff pitcher of this era. He’s 8-3 with a 2.11 ERA in 16 postseason games and has 87 strikeouts in 102 and 1/3 innings. From Game 2 of the 2012 World Series through his 2016 Wild Card win over the Mets – a nine-game stretch – Bumgarner posted a 0.79 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP. He is already, at 27, second all-time in postseason shutouts, with three.
In short, he’s incredible.
But he’s not the first pitcher to dominate in the postseason.
“The one that comes to mind for me is Jack Morris,” former MLB All-Star Tim Raines said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show, looking for a comparison to Bumgarner. “Jack Morris was that type of pitcher. I think over his career he was kind of a .500 or better pitcher, but when he got to the playoffs or the World Series or whatever, he was dominating.”
Morris, to be fair, was better than .500. He went 254-186 (.577) in 18 big-league seasons, during which he was a five-time All-Star, a four-time World Series champion and a World Series MVP. In the postseason, meanwhile, he went 7-4 with a 3.80 ERA. Those are solid numbers, but he was a force to be reckoned with in the 1991 World Series, when he went 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA, had 15 strikeouts in 23 innings, and led the Twins to victory in a seven-game thriller over the Braves.
“If you can get a sense and look at his stats, you can see how dominating he was during the playoffs and World Series,” Raines said. “That’s what Bumgarner kind of reminds me of.”