That the SF Giants lost their three game series at Washington was less of a shock than their 3 duds in Miami, but it still had to be discouraging.
Washington proved to be the better team, and the Giants didn't even see their best pitcher. The Nationals' infield woes receded, and they have right now a superior outfield that took away several extra base hits from the Giants, who couldn't score a run for two of the games except for two solo homers.The final game was additionally frustrating for all the bad calls on balls and strikes. Ryan Vogelsong was still pitching well when he was ejected, which didn't help matters. George Kontos, who hadn't given up a run in ages, gave up the winner on a home run. It ended up 3-1.
Bryce Harper of the Nationals was the top All-Star vote getter, and he showed why even in this relatively quiet series for him. He's something of a Mickey Mantle figure, with incredible potential and putting up incredible numbers, but whose career has been marred by injuries. And instead of off-field excesses like Mantle, he's prone to on-field temper.
The Giants return home from an 0-6 road trip depleted and exhausted, 4 games back in second place. It could have been worse, since the Dodgers also lost on Sunday. They have to rest Pagan or risk losing him later, and they are going to rest Panik as they did Duffy today. Their latest roster moves bit them today when Travis Ishikawa returned to the Pittsburgh Pirates on waivers. That's an experienced bench player the Giants won't have for late season, but the Pirates now will.
The Pirates are ending the first half going in the opposite direction of the Giants. They won their series against Cleveland, with a 1-0 gem by Jeff Locke and a 5-3 win by league leader Gerrit Cole (his 12th victory), with a 5 run fifth capped by a double by Andrew McCutchen, who didn't make the All-Star starting lineup but will probably start anyway due to injuries. The Giants' Aoki was the 4th outfielder in votes, but he's injured, too. The Pirates have no starters, and the Giants only Buster Posey. So that's exactly one of my selections that start, two if you count Cutch.
All-Star Update: NL players voted Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford onto the All-Star team, and All-Stars manager Bruce Bochy selected second baseman Joe Panik for the team, as well as pitcher Madison Bumgarner. Pirates added to the All-Star team are Andrew McCutchen and pitchers Gerrit Cole, Mark Melancon and A.J. Burnett. It's great news for Burnett, who had a bad year last year with the Phillies, and is back with the Bucs for his 17th and last year (at least, that's his plan.) Meanwhile, starter Cole leads the league in wins and closer Melancon is arguably the best in the league. (So that's four of my selections. Fans didn't pick pitchers.)
The Tipping Point of Cruelty - This piece of video is amazing, one of the best sequences I've ever seen on Rachel Maddow. It starts as a mundane story about the upcoming Fourth of July ...
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