MadBum a Silver Lining in 2011

Madison Bumgarner's quietly doing the same thing he did last year: dominating down the stretch. And while it might not exactly be enough to push the Giants into the playoffs we're at the point where it's time to start looking at bright spots.

And MadBum is most certainly one of those.

In September and October of 2010, "MadBum" posted a 1.13 over his final five starts, cranked his strikeouts-per-nine-innings up to 9.0, raised his strikeout-to-walk ratio up to 8.00 and pushed the Giants to an NL West crown.

Right now, Bumgarner's in the midst of an even longer -- and thusly more impressive -- stretch. While his early season performances were primarily marred by ridiculously bad luck; during May, MadBum went 2-2 while posting a 2.21 ERA.

His later-season performances haven't been entirely lucky, but they've just been flat-out dominant -- during August, Bumgarner went 3-2 with a 2.30 ERA and an 8.8 K/9 ratio, as well as a 3.82 K/BB ratio.

Last night was his first start in September, so it's a bit unfair to base a month's split based on an 8.1 inning, 13-strikeout performance in which he baffled the Padres. But it was his third double-digit strikeout performance since the beginning of August, and the fourth of his season.

And if that game's any indication of how MadBum will close out the season, Giants fans are at least in for a treat during September, although it may not carry over past then.

And while that's little consolation for a team that truly believed it could repeat as World Series champions, there's something to be said for enjoying the development of a studly young pitcher with ace potential ... in the team's third rotation spot.

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