Photo credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
In 2010, just hours after the Phillies shocked the baseball world by delivering Cliffmas to Philadelphia, CSN Bay Area scriber Ray Ratto wrote that the team’s decision to sign Cliff Lee was an attempt to bridge the Madison Bumgarner gap– to bring the Phillies’ staff up to par with the Giants’. I, of course, mocked Ratto and now look like an idiot. I wrote:
I have no idea what Mr. Ratto just said, but the reason the Phillies signed Cliff Lee has nothing to do with Madison Bumgarner. The Giants were a genetic grab bag of luck that found its way into the playoffs thanks to a late season Phillies sweep of the Padres. Somewhere between Brian Wilson’s dumb beard and Cody Ross’ rodeo clown aspirations they pulled a World Series ring out of their collective asses. Please.
Please… let me take that back.
It gets worse still.
That following summer, on August 4, before Bumgarner and the Giants were scheduled to face off against Lee and the Phillies, I again mocked Ratto, as the Phils and their shiny new toy, Hunter Pence, were riding high:
Well, problem fixed. I’d argue that the acquistion of Hunter Pence is more likely to close any imagined gap between the Phillies and Giants, however.
So far this season, Bumgarner is 6-10 with a 3.80 ERA. Lee is 10-7 with a 3.14 ERA. I’d say bridge construction is coming along nicely.
Shortly afterward, the bridge collapsed into a puddle of my tears, and your tears, too. Pence, The Next Great Phillie, is now a two-time World Champion as the spiritual leader of the Giants (he’s also 16-for-41 with one home run, six RBIs, and a .996 OPS in 11 World Series games). Bumgarner just turned in one of the greatest World Series performances of all-time, collecting three wins and a Chevy with technology and stuff. And, at the moment, Lee is trying to work his way back from a highly concerning elbow injury, Ruben Amaro is slumming it on airport floors, and the Phillies are years away from contending again. Which is to say: the Madison Bumgarner Gap has never been bridged, and it probably never will. I’m so ashamed.