San Francisco Giants: 5 Positive Takeaways From April

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Madison Bumgarner’s Hot Start

The Giants’ rotation thus far in 2013 has delivered a mixed bag of results. Matt Cain has a 6.49 ERA, Ryan Vogelsong has a 6.23 ERA, Tim Lincecum has a 3.29 ERA and Barry Zito has a 3.29 ERA.

April 30, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first inning during a game at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Then, there’s Madison Bumgarner. Sporting a 1.55 ERA, Bumgarner has easily claimed his position as the Giants’ ace. It’s early, sure, but there’s really no arguing the stats. From a broader view, his robust 1.55 ERA ranks second in the National League among qualified starters.

How Bumgarner has gotten off to such an incredible start is not very complicated either–he’s added a change-up and he’s throwing strikeouts. Per Fan Graphs, opponents are hitting just .200 against his change-up, which, for the increased usage of the pitch, is easily a career-best. Then for the strikes, he has a 65 percentage strike percentage and a 64 percent first-pitch (career-high) strike percentage.

In a month where the Giants’ rotation struggled, the constant of Bumgarner was key.