With the San Francisco Giants’ victory over the New York Mets in the 2016 National League wild-card game, they moved on to face the Chicago Cubs in the NLDS. Madison Bumgarner performed tremendously, throwing a nine-inning shutout with four hits allowed, two walks, and six strikeouts. He isn’t the first pitcher to get hot and dominate in the postseason. Here are 10 times when a starting pitcher tore through the competition and led his team to a World Series victory. We’ll start with Bumgarner.
1. Madison Bumgarner
This isn’t Bumgarner’s first rodeo. The 27-year-old has three World Series rings with the Giants. He first really caught fire in the postseason in 2014. Much like he just did to the Mets, Bumgarner started that one by throwing a nine-inning, four-hit shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the wild-card game. He hit a single speed bump in the NLDS against the Washington Nationals, losing the game after going seven innings and allowing just two earned runs.
But Bumgarner took off in the NLCS and World Series. Combined between the two rounds, he had a 0.98 ERA in 36 2/3 innings. He won all four of his starts and a relief appearance in the clinching game against the Kansas City Royals.
2. Josh Beckett
Back in 2003, Josh Beckett was just 23 years old and in the postseason for the very first time with the Florida Marlins when he opened against the Giants in the NLDS. He started Game 1 against San Francisco and lost it 2-0, but he only allowing one earned run in seven innings.
The Marlins won the series and moved on to the NLCS, where Beckett gave up six earned runs in 6 1/3 innings in Game 1 against the Chicago Cubs. However, from there, he was lights out. Beckett threw a complete game shutout in Game 5, four strong innings in relief in Game 7, and a complete game shutout in the Game 6 clincher with a World Series win over the New York Yankees.
3. Curt Schilling
In 2001, with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Curt Schilling experienced a legendary postseason run. Heading into the World Series against the New York Yankees, he started with three consecutive complete game victories. Then, he started Game 1 of the World Series, winning with seven innings pitched. Schilling also went seven innings in Game 4, allowing just one earned run. The series went to Game 7, which Schilling also pitched. He allowed two earned runs in 7 1/3 innings, leaving the game while trailing. But then his Diamondbacks scored two runs off Mariano Rivera in the ninth to win.
4. Randy Johnson
The other side of the coin is Randy Johnson, the other D-Backs ace in 2001. He experienced his worst game in the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing three runs in eight innings and losing Game 2. But Johnson was lights out from there, throwing two complete game shutouts, including one in the World Series against the Yankees. He even pitched in relief in Game 7 — the day after he threw 104 pitches in a win over New York. He had a 1.52 ERA in the postseason that year and shared the World Series MVP with Schilling.
5. Chris Carpenter
MLB fans didn’t expect the St. Louis Cardinals to do much in the 2011 postseason. The team came in as a wild card facing off against the 102-win Philadelphia Phillies. During the series, Chris Carpenter went to the mound in a winner-take-all Game 5, throwing a nine inning shutout in a 1-0 Cardinals win. He started three games and had a 2.84 ERA in the World Series, helping lead the Cards to a win in Game 7 over the Texas Rangers. It was the last great career moment for the 36-year-old starting pitcher who was a part of two World Series winning teams.
6. Jack Morris
In 1991, Jack Morris had an exceptional postseason for the Minnesota Twins. His worst start came in his first one, allowing four earned runs in five innings. In his final four starts of the postseason — including three in the World Series — Morris had a 1.45 ERA; his Twins won three of the four games. He’s also the last pitcher to go 10 innings in a postseason game, which he did against the Atlanta Braves in Game 7, allowing zero runs on 126 pitches.
7. Tom Glavine
The Atlanta Braves experienced an amazing run from the early ’90s until the mid 2000s, winning their division a record 14 consecutive times. They made five trips to the World Series, but they only won it one time. This winning occasion came in 1995, with left-handed starter Tom Glavine carrying the team on his back. The Braves won all four games Glavine started, including two in the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. Overall, he finished with a 1.61 ERA in 28 innings and a World Series MVP award.
8. Orlando Hernandez
The 1999 New York Yankees were a major favorite to repeat as World Series champions, but they had some strong challengers to get past. In the playoffs, a surprising player stepped up and filled the role of the ace: Orlando Hernandez. After having a 4.12 ERA during the regular season, “El Duque” threw eight shutout innings against the Rangers in the ALDS; beat Boston twice in the ALCS; and threw seven innings with 10 strikeouts in the World Series. He finished the postseason with a 1.20 ERA.
9. Jon Lester
In the 2013 playoffs, Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester pitched in five games and lost only one time. In that losing game, he went 6 1/3 innings and only allowed one run. Lester helped lift the Red Sox pasted the Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers in the American League before throwing 15 1/3 innings in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing just one run. Overall, Lester had a 1.56 ERA in his 34 2/3 innings and represented a huge part of the Red Sox’s third World Series win in 10 years.
10. Tim Lincecum
Bumgarner wasn’t the only Giants pitcher to carry his team to a World Series win this decade. In 2010, Tim Lincecum threw a complete game shutout in his first ever playoff start in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves. He started Games 1 and 5 of the NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies, and came in and pitched in relief in Game 6. Lincecum started two games in the World Series against the Rangers, including the deciding Game 5, when he tossed eight innings, allowing just one run with 10 strikeouts.