And….we’re home again.

How can this team not be able to go all out for this crowd?  Why do so many things seem to go dead?

The simple answer is, I don’t know.

I’m getting very worried about the pitching.  Cain relapsed a bit after the Perfect Game, though he had a good pennant race.  Not dominating, but good.  He hasn’t been even that in the postseason so far.  Vogelsong’s late swan dive was well documented.  Zito was unpredictable most of the season, so of course his September was great, but he has looked awful in the postseason.

But none of their troubles are as troubling as Bumgarner’s.

Bumgarner hit a wall.  That wall came on August 20th, when he threw 123 pitches in a 2-1 win against the Dodgers, right after a complete game victory against the Nationals.  Since then?  A 5.89 ERA in seven starts, allowing less than two earned runs only twice and getting into the sixth inning only four times.

Bumgarner looks tired.  His fastball tonight was Zitonian.  His control within the strike zone was bad, since he was up in the zone constantly.  He hasn’t been the same kid.

That’s when I realized that, for two of our starters, this is the first time they’ve hit upon innings like this.  Bumgarner only threw 111 innings in 2010.  Sure, he threw only slightly less innings in 2011 than he did this year, but this is the first time he’s had to keep pushing into October.  In Vogelsong’s case, he went above 100 innings only once before 2011.  For a 35-year old, that’s saying something.

And then again, Zito hasn’t had to pitch deep into October since 2006, either.

Bumgarner’s wall is troubling, though.  He’s young.  I don’t want to see him do something like what happened to Nen.  It wasn’t okay with Nen, and it won’t be okay with Bumgarner.  Bumgarner’s a big part of this team’s future.  I don’t want to go all Strasburg on this, but…should the Giants shut him down?

I’d be okay with moving him to relief, a la Lincecum.  Especially because Lincecum should be starting right now.

Don’t kill Bumgarner.  He’s better than this, we all know that.  I can only imagine the pressure on him to perform this year.  But a World Series isn’t worth mortgaging the future on.