DENVER -- Madison Bumgarner is scheduled to take the mound at Oracle Park on Thursday night as the Giants open a series with the Mets. He’ll be climbing that hill in San Francisco for the 133rd time.
It could also be for the last time in a Giants uniform.
That’s how every start has been for Bumgarner over the past couple of weeks as the July 31 Trade Deadline approaches. Despite the Giants having won 12 of 14 games to climb back into the National League Wild Card race, it appears that the club will still be a seller.
Though he admits it hasn’t always been easy, Bumgarner sets that possibility aside when he steps out of the dugout.
“I just figured, until they take [the Giants uniform] away from me, I’m not gonna think about it that way,” Bumgarner told MLB.com. “Mindset is a big thing for me. I feel like that’s a negative light on what we’re trying to do, because we’re trying to win. I’m not focused on whether it’s my last start or not or whether they’re gonna decide to make moves or not.”
Bumgarner etched his name in Giants lore when he threw 52 2/3 innings during the 2014 postseason, including 21 in the World Series to lead San Francisco to its third championship in five years. He threw a shutout in Game 5 and, on two days' rest, came out of the bullpen to throw five scoreless innings of relief to close out Game 7 against the Royals in Kansas City.
That is what Bumgarner is, and perhaps always will be, remembered for most in San Francisco. But he also enters Thursday’s start with the second-most strikeouts in franchise history since the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958, with 1,712. His career ERA stands at 3.09, and his postseason career ERA is 2.11 in 16 outings (14 starts).
Bumgarner said the Giants’ recent run of success has made it easier to shut out swirling trade rumors, and that as long as he is on the mound for San Francisco, the goal is to reach the postseason again as a Giant.
“I feel like I’ve done a good job of blocking it out,” Bumgarner said. “Sometimes it’s easier said than done, obviously. But winning solves everything. I’m just trying to win the game; it doesn’t matter what may or may not happen. All we can control is what’s going on right now.”