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Madison Bumgarner won his first World Series game four years ago on Halloween. Tonight he pulled another ghoulish trick: He used his 93-MPH death ray to suck the soul from James Shields and usurp his nickname.

Not that Bumgarner needs one. But you can call him Big Game Bum if you want. His performance will be analyzed eighty ways to Jefferson City between now and the start of Game 2, so I won't bother. But I will point you to this Fangraphs article, which explains smartly (is there any other way at Fangraphs?) how Bumgarner has become an elite fastball pitcher. Hitters look for the signature slider/cutter, and Bum just pumps 93 deep into the game. And he also breaks out the Eric Stults sub-70MPH curve. Where did that come from?

Whoops, I said I wasn't going to analyze his pitching tonight. What I will note is something very unsabermetric: experience. The soi-disant Big Game Shields fellow came out looking like he'd snorted a little too much pulverized adrenal gland before the game. The blood was pumping, the fastball was sailing, and the change-up wasn't doing much of anything. He left one of the latter around belt high to Gregor Blanco, who got just enough to dunk it into center for a leadoff single.

Then Joe Panik whacked a high fastball to the warning track in left, and Blanco didn't over-react, which a World Series newbie might have done. He made a great and perhaps underappreciated baserunning play by tagging on the fly and taking second base.

Then a succession of more great at-bats, including Brandon Belt, who calmly took a walk. Morse was the only Giant batter who looked anxious in the inning.

You could argue Tim Flannery was too geeked up, sending Buster Posey homeward on the Panda's double, but I'll (gasp) give the Fox guys credit: They noticed how the ball caromed away from right-fielder Aoki, whose momentum was going in the opposite direction---that's what Flannery probably saw when he gave Buster the windmill. But Aoki recovered quickly, and the ball didn't roll far. That, plus two great throws, and Buster was toast at the plate. Well, and Posey's imitation of Ben "The Thing" Grimm pounding his stone-heavy legs around the bases. But still, I don't think it was Flannery's adrenaline that fucked it up, I think it was an early read of a situation that didn't quite unfold as expected.

I haven't seen post-game interviews or notes, but I'm guessing Shields will admit to the adrenaline thing. And that's what I mean by experience. It's one thing to try to act like you've been there, and be cool, it's another thing to actually have been there. Shields took a while to corral the World-Series-Holy-Shit-termites in his skull---made worse by not having pitched in 10 days---and the Giants pounded him.

KC lefty Danny Duffy seemed to have a similar moment, entering when it was 4-0 and walking Brandon Crawford and Gregor Blanco to make it 5-0. That was pretty much it, folks. It was up to 7-0 when I began a small secret wish to #LetTimmyPitch, but I had no problem with Bochy's decision to give Hunter Strickland a garbage-time inning.

The Fox guys -- I believe it was Harold Reynolds -- noted that Strickland had been "working on things" in the bullpen, mainly a slider. As if Strickland didn't have one previously, and that's why he gave up all those horrible terrible no good very bad home runs to people like Bryce Harper.

No Harold, that wasn't the reason. It was because guys were sitting on the fastball and he threw it down the middle, or middle-in. He should be able to throw the fastball in any situation as long as he hits his spots, and that's what he did successfully tonight. Yes, he needs a slider, and he has a good one, as Josh Willingham found out to end the game tonight, but 98-MPH fastballs just off the outside corner go a long way toward not having people like Bryce Harper fleck you with spittle during their home run trots.

I don't expect Game 2 to be this easy, but there's a good chance it'll be more exciting in a nonpartisan kind of way.


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