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Secret to Bumgarner's success is kept a secret

SAN FRANCISCO

His expression doesn't change. In fact, to be fair, there's no expression on Madison Bumgarner's face to change. It's as if he takes an invisible cloth and wipes his face clean of emotion. Up by 10 or down by 10 runs, playing in heat or rain, playing at day or during the day, playing with a hangnail for gosh sakes, Bumgarner gives nothing away. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

"I don't want to discuss mechanics right now," the Giants' lefty said Thursday. "It's not the place or time for that."

And this was the question I asked to provoke that kind of terse response: What was the change you made in your delivery that made you effective tonight?

The way Bumgarner replied, with no elevation voice or tone, no facial twitch that indicated even annoyance, he left little doubt he would take his little secret with him to his grave. Some pitchers are peculiar that way. They keep what they even ate for breakfast a secret. The Tigers would like to know, however. Tell us, please, BumMad.

See, if you can't beat 'em, like Detroit couldn't beat Bumgarner Thursday night, then maybe the Tigers could pass his little secret on to their pitchers, the art of throwing a baseball well that complicated.

"It's not easy to fix yourself like that," said fellow pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, "especially in such a short period of time. And he wasn't just OK tonight. He was really good."

The pitcher who had a 2-6 record and a 6.85 earned-run average in his last nine starts, the pitcher who was bumped from the starting rotation in the NLCS because he was 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA, the pitcher who hadn't pitched in 10 days, that guy went out in the latest biggest game of his life and threw a two-shutout for seven innings in the World Series.

Yeah, the Tigers would like to know the adjustment Bumgarner made.

"Madison came more over the top," said catcher Buster Posey. "That helped his location and made his ball sharper (breaking)."


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