The St. Louis Cardinals took a 1-0 NLCS lead on Sunday night, defeating Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants, 6-4.
Bumgarner surrendered six runs on eight hits, while issuing a walk, in just three and 2/3 innings of work on Sunday. Bumgarner's lone walk was issued to Cardinals starting pitcher Lance Lynn -- which is always an ominous sign for a pitcher.
Grant Brisbee over at McCovey Chronicles, SB Nation's San Francisco Giants blog, wouldn't mind seeing Bumgarner shut down for the remainder of the season, since he hasn't been quite right in awhile.
I'm not advocating the Giants shut him down. But if they were going to ease up on him and stick Zito back in the rotation for Game 5, I'd be secretly relieved. Bumgarner is over 600 innings for the last three years combined, and while he's never been inefficient with his pitches, that's still a ton of innings for a 22-year-old. If you want to go really deep down the causation/correlation rabbit hole, note that all of this started after Bumgarner's 123-pitch outing on August 20. He hasn't been the same since.
Bumgarner lost his lone NLDS start, falling in Game 2, as the Reds shutout the Giants, 9-0. Bumgarner lasted just four and 1/3 innings in that start, allowing four runs on seven hits, while issuing one walk.
Unless Giants manager Bruce Bochy alters the rotation, Bumgarner is currently in line to start Game 5 of the NLCS.