SAN FRANCISCO -- As Madison Bumgarner prepares for his Game 2 start Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds, the Giants hope the left-hander can tap into the same youthful bliss that carried him through a dazzling postseason in 2010.
Bumgarner, now a wise old 23, conceded Saturday that he was thinking too much as he was going 2-2 with a 5.47 ERA in September.
Now that the playoffs are here, he's switching his brain off.
"Once you get in the postseason, you can't think about the mechanics, can't think about any of that,'' Bumgarner said. " You just have to go out there and compete with whatever you've got."
His naÃ¯veté served him well in 2010 when he became the fourth youngest pitcher in baseball history to win a World Series game. In all, he went 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA in four postseason games.
Giants Manager Bruce Bochy played down Bumgarner's mechanical issues, saying that the pitcher "just got out of sync a little bit there." In Bumgarner's final start, he gave up four runs in four innings and lasted just 76 pitches against the San Diego Padres.
Bochy said the pitcher is making too big a turn in his windup and will try to "short it up a little bit."
Despite stumbling down the stretch, Bumgarner finished 16-11 with a 3.37 ERA and became the first Giants left-hander since Kirk Rueter (1998) to win at least 16 games.
Bumgarner faced the Reds once this season — on June 28, long before his
Bumgarner is confident that he can rediscover that form now that he's on the October stage again.
"Obviously, you're going to have ups and downs throughout the year,'' Bumgarner said. "It's about how you can compete and minimize the damage."