The Sports Xchange

MLB Team Report - San Francisco Giants - INSIDE PITCH

NEW YORK -- With 300-game winners Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux officially entering the Hall of Fame last weekend, no active pitcher is within 85 wins of the magic number. With teams proceeding carefully with pitchers who are nonetheless getting hurt at an increasing rate, the possible demise of the 300-game winner has become a popular topic in baseball over recent months.

But did San Francisco Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner move one victory closer to the most exclusive club in baseball Sunday?

It is, of course, absurdly early to talk about Bumgarner or any 20-something pitcher as a potential 300-game winner. After all, Bumgarner is still a mere 248 wins away after throwing a magnificent two-hit shutout Sunday to lead the Giants to a 9-0 victory over the New York Mets at Citi Field.

But there's at least two indicators -- one statistical, the other coincidental and/or cosmic -- to wonder if Bumgarner will someday have a shot at making a run at 300 wins.

Bumgarner had 61 big league wins before his 25th birthday, which he celebrated Friday. Of the last 10 pitchers to reach 300 wins, only one -- Maddux -- had 61 wins before he turned 25.

Bumgarner actually recorded a better ERA (3.14 in 880 1/3 innings) through his 25th birthday than Maddux (3.65 ERA) in 919 innings before turning 25.

And while Bumgarner threw a shutout to earn his 62nd win two days after his 25th birthday, Maddux notched his 62nd win on April 15, 1991 -- one day after he turned 25 -- by tossing eight scoreless innings for the Chicago Cubs on April 15, 1991.

"That's pretty awesome, wow," Bumgarner said Sunday afternoon. "That's pretty impressive. Obviously makes you feel good about what you're doing."

Of course, being mentioned in the same breath as Maddux is a reminder to Bumgarner of how much more Maddux did -- he retired with 355 wins, the eighth-most all-time and the second-most among pitchers born after 1900 -- and how much more the southpaw has to do to even approach 300 wins.

"(Maddux) obviously did it for a long, long time," Bumgarner said. "And seemed like he just got better and better as he aged. That doesn't happen too often."

Nor do franchises often develop homegrown aces who appear fully matured -- on and off the field -- like Bumgarner, who is signed through 2017 with a club/vesting option for 2018 and a club option for 2019.

"It's safe to say a lot of people are very impressed with him on a daily basis," Giants right fielder Hunter Pence said. "Not just his performance -- who he is, how he handles himself. He's just a very special individual. Very strong, very hard-working, very good person."

As much as Bumgarner enjoyed the Maddux comparison, he is also all too aware of the attrition rate amongst pitchers and realizes it's far too early to gaze ahead at the possibility of still being compared to Maddux as he chases 300 wins a decade or more from now.

"So far away, you never know what's going to happen -- man, you never know if you're going to get to play tomorrow," Bumgarner said. "So many injuries in this game, and that's why we try to do all our work and do all the preventive stuff and stay strong and stay flexible.

"Hopefully it'll work out. But you never know."

-----------------------------------------------

MLB Team Report - San Francisco Giants - NOTES, QUOTES