It took Madison Bumgarner a little while to get going last year after turning in a magical 2014 postseason performance, but he figured it out by the beginning of May.
He's on the same track this season with an identical ERA entering his second start of the month, which comes Friday night as the San Francisco Giants try to even their home series with the Colorado Rockies.
Bumgarner (3-2, 3.03 ERA) was 3-1 with a 3.03 mark through six starts last season after seeing his ERA go as high as 5.40 in April, which is what it was after one start this year. After giving up six hits in six scoreless innings of a 6-1 win at the New York Mets on Saturday, the left-hander has won consecutive starts and given up two runs and 12 hits in 12 2/3 innings with 16 strikeouts.
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He said he's nearing midseason form.
“It didn't feel like I was 100 percent where I'd like to be, but it was really close,” Bumgarner said.
Bumgarner has won his last three starts against the Rockies with a 2.38 ERA, as well as 6-1 with a 2.14 mark in 10 career starts against them at AT&T Park.
Gerardo Parra (2 for 16 with six strikeouts), DJ LeMahieu (3 for 22) and Nolan Arenado (5 for 25) have all struggled against him, but Carlos Gonzalez is 16 for 46 with five home runs and four doubles.
Counterpart Chad Bettis has settled in nicely since giving up five runs in 5 1/3 innings of his first outing, going 3-1 with a 3.13 ERA in five starts since. He was more hittable in Saturday's 6-3 win in Arizona, surrendering three runs and nine hits in six innings, though he came away with the decision.
“He was pounding the strike zone all day,” manager Walt Weiss told MLB's official website. “He did an outstanding job. He's done that pretty much every time out.”
Bettis (3-1, 3.89) is 2-3 with a 5.16 ERA in four starts and four relief appearances against the Giants with Brandon Belt going 7 for 12. Matt Duffy is 4 for 9, but Brandon Crawford (1 for 12) and Gregor Blanco (1 for 10) have struggled.
The Rockies (14-14) opened the four-game series with Thursday's 17-7 win, which included a 13-run top of the fifth inning. Over a 5-3 span, they've averaged 6.37 runs per game and are hitting .300.
Parra went 3 for 5 with three RBIs and is batting .367 with 13 RBIs in his last 11 games, while Arenado homered and is batting .378 with five homers and 11 RBIs in his last nine. The third baseman is batting .435 with 12 home runs and 33 RBIs in his last 15 against the Giants.
Colorado is attempting to win its third straight series over the Giants and is 14-9 against them since the start of last year.
San Francisco (15-15) wasn't short on offense, either – the teams totaled 33 hits – but it's split its last eight because of a 7.80 ERA out of the rotation. In the last four, the Giants are batting .329.
They could have Joe Panik back Friday, a week after tweaking his groin. Hunter Pence was held out of the lineup with tightness in his back and should return Friday.