DENVER -- Coming into this season, the Giants had not had a player win the National League Pitcher of the Month award since Tim Lincecum was honored in June of 2009. Madison Bumgarner has now won it twice in four months.
Bumgarner went the distance in three of his six August starts and finished the month 4-1 with a league-best 1.57 ERA. He led the league in innings (46), WHIP (0.63) and strikeouts (56) while walking just three batters. Opposing batters hit .163 against Bumgarner in May. He struck out 12 more batters than the next best pitcher, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who won the award in June and July.
"That's pretty amazing," Bumgarner said, smiling. "It's hard to see how anybody could beat him out of it with the way he's been throwing. I'm thankful for the recognition. It's crazy -- it's a huge honor. I couldn't have done it without everybody. We're playing really good ball."
On Aug. 26, Bumgarner nearly added a historic feat to the outstanding month, taking a perfect game into the eighth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies. Bumgarner won the award for the first time in his career this May after going 5-0 with a 2.08 ERA in six starts. Overall, he is 16-9 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Bumgarner needs one more strikeout to reach 200 for the first time in his big league career, and he's looking forward to hitting the mark.
"It's not why we're here, but it would be a good accomplishment," he said.
The rotation is now full of players who have won the award. Tim Hudson was Pitcher of the Month for the Braves in August of 2010 and Jake Peavy won on the American League side while pitching for the White Sox in April of 2012. Bumgarner is the first Giants player to win two monthly awards since 2004, when Barry Bonds was Player of the Month in April and August.
He'll get a couple of cracks at the Dodgers as he goes for a third monthly award. Bumgarner is scheduled to pitch the first game of a series in Los Angeles from Sept. 12-14 and is in line to face the Dodgers at home later in the month.
"It's the time of year you let it all hang out," he said. "It's make or break time."