Friday, September 13, 2013

Dodgers Edge Closer

It's the only thing left, the only thing I want from this lost, miserable season, and without a couple of wins from the orange-and-black, it won't happen. I'm talking about the Dodgers inevitable clinching of the NL West. It's going to happen, I have accepted that, that's been a reality since the All-Star Break. I would rather they not clinch by beating the Giants. I think that's a reasonable request. The baseball gods have seen fit to punish us this season with, well, you've watched it, I don't need to tell you, whatever 2013 SF baseball is, it is certainly a penance. So please, O Great American Pastime Deities, grant us this one small, small thing.

Matt Cain pitched superbly, one of his best outings of the year. Only one ball was really hit hard off him and that was Yasiel Puig's double in the 7th that broke the tie (and my heart) and sent me to bed. The Giants had a Keystone Kops 2nd inning, and a bad throw from Matty on a comebacker (and what should have been a double play) led directly to the Dodgers first run and tied the score at 1-1. Zack Greinke kept the Giants off the board through six (Hunter Pence hit a homer in the 2nd to start the scoring) even though he threw a lot of pitches and worked a lot of long counts. It was one of those 2013 Giants things where you just knew they weren't going to score a run unless the LA fielders decided to play hop-scotch instead of baseball. It doesn't seem to matter who is pitching or what the situation is, the Giants cannot deliver the big hit or the big run. The fact that they tied the game in the 9th (clutch hit by Gregor Blanco, his third of the night) is the exception that proves the rule. That's, like, the stupidest, most meaningless phrase ever invented, but I'm so bereft of inspiration this morning I had to use it.

In the 7th, with Cain cruising along, a leadoff blooper to right from A.J. Ellis was apparently misjudged or lost in the lights by Pence and it fell for a hit. Pinch-runner Dee Gordon promptly stole second and was sacrificed to third by Mark Ellis. Grienke was pulled for pinch-hitter Jerry Hairston, Jr. who Cain whiffed with some nice, brisk work. The slider to end the at-bat was a thing of beauty. Up strolled the Phenom from Cuba, and I thought for sure they'd slider him to death, and let him walk if he didn't bite (they'd walked him earlier in a RBI situation). Instead, Buster Posey called for the fastball inside, and Cain threw it right to the glove. Puig's eyes popped out of his head and he delivered a "thank-you-very-much" swing that split the outfielders and drove in the go-ahead run. I guess you have to go after guys sometimes, even if they are hitting .400 or so. It's not like the game has playoff implications for the Giants. Still, it was strange that our battery decided to throw that pitch to that guy at that moment--it seemed like a doomed move as soon as I saw Buster set the target. Oh, did I mention the Dodgers won the game in the 10th?

Tonight it's the lefties--Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner. The Giants have never hit Kershaw, so MadBum will have to be damn near perfect.

Let's go, Giants. Win the goddamn game!



Ron said...

It may come as a surprise to all that I don't consider this to have been a miserable season. Yes, it has had its heartbreaking moments, & we have made a mockery of the title 'defending World Series Champions'. But, we have managed to suck without doing the usual bottom-dweller routine of trading every worthwhile player to a contender before (or after) the trade deadline. We have a good group of players intact for 2014. Our obviously very tired Pitchers, who had a very short off-season, will be less tired, when they report for Spring Training in February. I would have liked to have seen us throw our youngsters out there more often lately. Otherwise, with the return of Lincecum & Pence on either Qualifying Offers or longer-term reasonable deals, the maturation of Belt & Crawford, the improved dietary regimen of the Panda, the emergence of Gaudin/Petit as a credible 5th Starter, & the signing of some studly Free Agent (Ellsbury? Someone w/ power?) to replace perennial 4th Outfielder Gregor Blanco in the starting lineup, I think that we will be very strong in 2014.

My late-season goal is 73 wins, so that we avoid having 90 losses. That means that we need at least 7 more wins out of the final 15 games. Next most important goals would be catching the Padres & Rockies.

I frankly could give a shit where & against whom the Dodgers clinch. They are eventually going to meet their match against Atlanta. I am looking forward to seeing that - well, hearing about that, because I don't intend to watch much, if any, of it.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Yeah, I wish I felt that way, but I don't. I think the Dodgers have the best team in the NL. If they don't make the Series I'll be surprised. Their 1-2 punch of Kershaw and Greinke is better than anyone else.

Of course, a short series is a crap shoot. Anything can happen, as we know.

I agree about 2014. The Giants have a really strong nucleus of young talent, and I will be especially encouraged if we keep Lincecum and Pence. I really do want a 6-man rotation the rest of the way, and 90-pitch limits on the "horses."