When healthy, Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner is as durable as any pitcher in baseball, a perennial candidate to throw 200 innings. He’s achieved the feat in six of the last seven seasons, only missing the mark in 2017 when an April dirt-bike crash and subsequent shoulder injury cost him nearly half of his starts. This spring, Bumgarner said he feels like the horse he’s always been, but there could be a different “200” milestone the left-hander is after. It’s one he’s reached three times in his career, and one his early spring performances indicate he’s capable of hitting again. Bumgarner owns three 200-strikeout seasons, setting a career-high with 251 punchouts in 226.2 innings in 2016. That year, he also set personal-best with 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings, an indicator that his offerings were as challenging to hit as they’ve ever been. “(200 strikeouts) is something that’s nice to have on your name,” Bumgarner said. “But at the end of the day, it’s not a necessity. I pitch for a strikeout when the situation calls for it, when there’s a runner at third and less than two outs. Stuff like that. Or if you get ahead of a guy 0-2 or 1-2.” In his third outing of the spring Wednesday, Bumgarner faced the San Diego Padres and recorded his third straight line with at least four strikeouts, a challenging feat considering his Cactus League innings are limited.
How Madison Bumgarner views a high spring strikeout total
San Jose Mercury News | Mar 8