Who had the greatest relief appearance in postseason history: Pedro Martinez or Madison Bumgarner?
When Madison Bumgarner shut the door on the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of the World Series, I called it one of the most brilliant baseball moves and performances of all time. Bumgarner’s entire postseason as a whole may be the best ever.
And with Pedro Martinez’s recent induction in the Hall of Fame, I got a chance to relive his career and watch his relief performance in the 1999 ALDS — a performance that could have cost him his career. It was the cherry on top to one of the greatest pitching seasons of all time.
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Since then I have debated which relief performance was more impressive. Which would be the greatest of all time. I ended up with the conclusion that they are 1A and 1B — but Martinez’s performance being 1A. I posed this question on Twitter and had a healthy debate as why Bumgarner’s appearance should be higher. I will now defend my stance.
Madison Bumgarner = Boss
The San Francisco Giants just know how to win. As an A’s fan, I am jealous and I wonder what could have been had the A’s made it out of the Wild Card round against the Royals. But it doesn’t matter. What I just witnessed was one of the greatest managerial performances of my lifetime.
Entering this game, all the talk from fans called for Madison Bumgarner to start Game 7. Bumgarner has been amazing this entire postseason run, but manager Bruce Bochy knew that he wouldn’t do that. He had a plan and stuck with it.
Bochy knew that there was a chance that he would have to go to the bullpen early, but opted to keep starter Tim Hudson as long as possible before going to Jeremy Affeldt. Affeldt has been on of the most reliable guys out the pen and Bochy used him just enough to get through a couple tough stretches.
Then entered Bumgarner.