Weekend Watch: 2014 World Series, Game 7, Giants vs. Royals
With nearly every major sports league suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, fans around the world are yearning for a return to normalcy.
The sports we love will be back, but in the interim, as we wait out the virus that has turned our world upside down, it's important to stay connected to the games we love.
Our Weekend Watch feature touches on the most significant moments in sports history, and luckily for us in this modern age, many of them are viewable online, in their entirety.
2014 World Series, Game 7: Giants vs. Royals
As an Orioles fan, I'd take Madison Bumgarner on the mound in pretty much any situation, but of all the modern baseball players I've watched, few turn it on in the postseason quite like him.
The 2014 World Series was his apex, and Game 7 of the World Series was as gritty as it gets for a pitcher on short rest.
But first, let's put his entire postseason run into context.
Bumgarner started with a four-hit shutout of the Pirates in the Wildcard Game. He then gave up a few meaningful runs across three starts during the National League Divisional Series and NLCS, entered the World Series with a 1.42 ERA, and somehow got better from there.
If Bumgarner wasn't on the bump three times against the Kansas City Royals, the Giants would not have won the series (which is probably why he was named World Series MVP).
One run allowed over seven innings in Game 1 was good enough, I suppose, but he threw another shutout in a crucial Game 5.
In Game 7, he came on in relief on two days' rest. But he didn't just throw an inning or two. He threw five! And it wasn't an easy breeze through the lineup. With the Giants clinging to a one-run lead, he had no margin for error.
It's not that he blew the Royals away — he only struck out four on 68 pitches — but it was a dominant pitching performance. He retired 14 straight batters between a pair of singles.
He's not a cuddly star we can all embrace, but with a game on the line and a choice of anybody in the majors, I'll take MadBum to lock it down.