Bumgarner will be looking to extend the Giants' five-game winning streak with another solid start Saturday afternoon. During the winning streak, Giants starters are 5-0 with a 1.80 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .208 and have struck out 29 times in 35 innings against San Francisco starting pitchers.
Bumgarner is on a hot streak of his own. He has made eight quality starts in a row, a streak that encompasses all of his starts in the second half. In his last start, Sunday against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, Bumgarner struck out 10 batters in eight shutout innings.
"He's fun to watch," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's like all good pitchers. He competes out there. He's pitching to win."
While Minor's numbers this season aren't as gaudy as Bumgarner, who leads the National League in WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched, at 0.99), he has pitched well over the past two months. Since the start of July, Minor has made seven quality starts. Only a long rain delay that forced him out of the Braves' victory against the Marlins on Aug. 2 in the fourth inning denied him his own streak of eight in a row. In those eight starts, Minor has a 2.29 ERA and has held opponents to a .217 batting average.
Minor said part of the difference has been in how he employs his changeup, which is his best pitch. Early in the year, he said he threw it too much. Now, with a better mix of all four of his pitches, his changeup is once again a weapon.
"I felt like I overused it," Minor said. "Now I'm kind of mixing fastballs back and forth and sliders, curveballs and now the changeup's more effective."
The Braves have lost six of their last seven games. If Minor is unable to get them turned around Saturday, the Giants will be looking to clinch just their second home series win in their last five tries.
Braves: McCann toughing out shoulder injury
Despite an injury the Braves are calling a right shoulder subluxation, catcher Brian McCann intends to play like an everyday catcher the rest of the season. He has struggled at the plate in August, going 9-for-56 with no extra-base hits. But he has made it clear he doesn't want any extra time off.
"As long as I can play, I'm going to continue to play," McCann said. "We've got a chance to go to the playoffs and the World Series. I'm going to do everything I can to help us get there."
McCann is hitting .230 with a .413 slugging percentage this season. Both are career lows.
Giants: Pagan's hitting streak reaches eight games
With a 4-for-5 night Friday, center fielder Angel Pagan extended his hitting streak to eight games. Pagan finished just a home run shy of the cycle in the Giants' 5-3 victory.
During the streak, Pagan is 18-for-35 (.514) with seven extra-base hits. Overall this season, Pagan is hitting .295 with a .352 on-base percentage.
McCann is 2-for-8 against Bumgarner in his career. Both hits are solo home runs.
The Giants' five-game winning streak matches their longest of the season. They last won five straight from July 13-18. The Braves snapped the streak with a 3-2 win, beating the Giants and Bumgarner in Atlanta.