Friday, September 04, 2015

A Winter's Tale

The three game sweep of the Giants will be talked about in L.A. for some time to come.  Every game was hard-fought, all settled by one run--the first in 14 innings, the next two by the score of 2-1.  Clayton Kershaw had a career game in the last one, pitching a complete game, and inducing more swings and misses that he ever has, or anyone else has this year.

Giants fans however may remember a very odd but telling detail about those last two games.  In a crucial late inning in both of them, with the Giants threatening, an umpire named Winters made a crucial call that some Giants strongly disagreed with.  When manager Bruce Bochy defended his players, Winters tossed him from the game.  Both games.  Both of the games that the Giants lost 2-1.

As Bochy said after the first instance, that kind of thing just isn't done--not in games like this, between teams like this, at this time of year.  The idea that Bochy, acknowledged as the best manager in baseball, would do or say something so flagrant to earn such a quick hook is pretty much unthinkable.

Something really wrong there.  Wonder what it is, and if anybody will try to find out.

In the two games since that epic series, both teams showed exhaustion in their first game out but the Dodgers recovered for a win tonight, while the Giants did not.  They lost by that same awful score of 2-1, in usually hitting-friendly Colorado.  Chris Heston pitched well, but gave up back to back homers to the league's home run leaders in the first inning, and that was all.  Once again, Marlon Byrd struck out in the game's most crucial at-bat.

This was the Giants' seventh loss in a row, and unless this streaky team suddenly goes on an epic winning streak, the front office attention turns towards winter, and the moves the team needs to make for next season, beginning with a new starting rotation.

There is still some potentially intriguing baseball to come.  What will it be like to have Joe Panik, Brian Crawford (both injured) on the field again with Matt Duffy (showing signs of wear) but with Kelby Tomlinson in the mix?  What will it be like to have Hunter Pence in the lineup, but with Byrd and their latest acquisition Alejandro De Aza available, as well as Blanco?  That infield may happen soon, the outfield before season's end, maybe.  (More bad news on the injury front came Saturday: Aoki is out again with recurrent concussion symptoms, Susak reinjured--both may miss the rest of the season.  Meanwhile the return of Hunter Pence may not come until the season's final week, if then. Earlier it was announced that Tim Lincecum will undergo hip surgery, so he won't return this year.)

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates broke a four game losing streak to beat their rival Cardinals in St. Louis and move to 5.5 games out of first.  But they'd have to sweep the series to make a real dent in that lead.  Not easy to do in St. Louis. J.A.Happ, acquired in July, gave the Pirates 7 scoreless on Friday, and with Burnett coming back, pitching seems even stronger.

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