Though they've won 22 of their 37 games this season, the Giants haven't received the consistent starting pitching on which they've relied for the past four years.
Except for Madison Bumgarner. Through one quarter of this season, the 23-year-old left-hander has become the rotation's Mr. Reliable.
On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in China Basin, Bumgarner held Atlanta to a run on four hits in seven innings as the Giants cruised 10-1. Bumgarner struck out 11 (two shy of his career high) and walked two.
Consider these numbers:
-- The Giants are 6-2 in his starts.
-- Only once has he allowed more than two runs.
-- Only once has he failed to last at least six innings - and in that game, he went 5 2/3 in a 4-2 victory over Colorado.
"He's thrown so well this year," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
As for Bumgarner's outing Saturday, Bochy said, "He was on top of his game and hit his spots. He had some great put-away pitches."
Seeing Atlanta hitters trudge back to the dugout after a third strike is something that has been pretty common in 2013. The Braves came into Saturday having fanned 325 times, by far the most in the National League.
"They swing a lot and they swing hard," Bumgarner said.
Left-handed batters haven't hit Atlanta starter Paul Maholm very hard this season. Entering Saturday, they were 4-for-49 against him, numbers Bochy termed "stupid" in his pregame news conference.
Shortstop Brandon Crawford was the Giants' lone left-handed hitter in the starting lineup. Crawford was hitless in his previous 12 at-bats against lefties.
Sure enough, Crawford had an infield single in his first at-bat, then lined an RBI double down the left-field line in his second at-bat.