Barry Zito did not allow a hard-hit ball in his seven shutout innings. He was "missing the sweet spot" as Kruk said. The Dodgers would hit the ball off the handle or the end of the bat and everything was a ground ball, a soft liner, or a pop fly. It was classic LA-style with lots of dinks and dunks, only this time there was no Ron Cey crushing a three-run homer. My formative years as a fan (1973-1981, high school and college) match perfectly the Penguin's peak seasons. Every time I saw a Dodger game in those days that little fuck would blast another ball over the fence and crush my dreams. The Giants were always the scrappy underdogs, while LA won four pennants in that stretch and ruled the West. Our only consolation as fans was that stupid Joe Morgan game. I never want to see highlights of that game again. The Giants should have won the division that year (1982), and having to settle for the consolation prize of "keeping the Dodgers out" was fulfilling for about fifteen minutes. I digress, but I still have that traumatized kid inside of me. When the Men in Blue roll into town, I fear the worst. I got scars, man.
I was a little nervous last night with Zito taking the hill. You never know what you will get with that guy, but last night he mixed it up and mesmerized 'em and threw a great game. It helped that the LA lineup was a little ugly. Their leadoff man, Dee Gordon, is really fast but has a .281 OBP. You have to figure that doesn't help them much. Juan Rivera, Juan Uribe, and Tony Gwynn all sport an OPS of less than .700 (the league average is .715). Are you surprised by their 4.08 rpg, just a tick ahead of the Giants 4.07 mark? Without Matt Kemp they are hurting. Andre Ethier hits .325 vs. righties but only .243 vs. lefties. This team, right now, is ripe for the taking. Unfortunately the Giants have to face Clayton Kershaw AGAIN. That will be a tough matchup for Ryan Vogelsong, but he's been as consistent as anyone in the league, so if the Giants can score at all it should give them a fair chance, especially at home.
And speaking of scoring, everyone in the Giants lineup not named Brandon either scored two runs or had two hits. Melky Cabrera did both, and Pablo Sandoval looked much, much better with three hits (two doubles) and three RBI. I should note that the Diamondbacks won their fourth straight and are only three behind the Giants. It just may be turning into a three-team race. They will start their über-prospect Trevor Bauer sometime this week. The UCLA phenom was the 3rd overall pick in 2011 and has been touted as the Second Coming of Stephen Strasburg.