KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Madison Bumgarner has the makeup of a successful Game 7 starter and the Giants should pitch him over Tim Hudson on Wednesday.
That’s the opinion of legendary Game 7 pitcher Jack Morris, who 23 years earlier pitched 10 shutout innings to propel the Minnesota Twins to a 1-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves in the 1991 World Series.
Morris, who allowed three earned over three starts to earn the 1991 World Series MVP, sees a very similar makeup in Bumgarner. He subscribes to what has become a popular opinion among some here: Giants manager Bruce Bochy should pick the young left-hander over Hudson for the winner-take-all contest.
“I feel bad for Boch,” Morris said. “I feel like he’s kind of in between a rock and a hard place. He’s loyal to Timmy Hudson. Timmy’s had a great career. This is his one crack at his own stardom and he wants the best for him. I know in his heart he wishes he could start his ace. So what do you do? You dodge the press. You do the best you can at smoke and mirrors and you hope to hell the boys hit the ball.”
What Morris sees as one of Bumgarner’s best qualities, aside from his ability to hit spots consistently, is how he approaches the game.
Bumgarner hasn’t wavered once: He wants the ball at all times.
Though it was later decried as false, one report last weekend suggested Bumgarner was adamant he wanted to pitch in Game 4 and then again in Game 7.
Following Tuesday’s loss in Game 6, Bumgarner, who threw 117 pitches in a shutout on Sunday night, suggested he could throw as many as 200 pitches in relief of Hudson if needed.
Even though he has combined for 265 innings since the start of the regular season, Bumgarner said he feels as good as he has all season. His remarkable postseason numbers -- he’s 4-1 with a 1.13 ERA in 47.2 IP -- suggest that to be true.
Morris loves it all.
It reminds him of the way he wanted the ball at every turn in 1991.
After Game 6 of the ’91 Fall Classic ended on an 11th-inning home run by Kirby Puckett, it was Morris, who won World Series rings with the Twins, Detroit and Toronto, that said he wanted to start the finale right then and there.
He wasn’t nervous for the Oct. 27, 1991 start and feels like Bumgarner is unafraid as well.
“Trust me, he’s not (afraid),” Morris said. “He wants the ball right now and that’s what you want out of every guy. You want him to want it. Every fielder should want to have the ball hit to him. Every hitter should want to be at the plate. That’s the guys you’re looking for when you manage and coach baseball.
“I want to hug him. He’s my kind of guy. I was so proud to see him pitch a complete game shutout in the World Series after the innings he’s thrown this year. It gives me all the ammunition I need to keep talking the crap I talk all year ‘round. He can do it and somebody will do it and there’s living proof. That’s right up my alley.”