Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Clinching and Limping

The furious stasis in the Central continues Tuesday, as the Pirates, Cards and Cubs all won.  The Pirates have to be happy that they've shaken off their September losses, frustrated that they're not gaining ground, and excited that they are very close to clinching the postseason for the third season in a row.

Yes, sports writers and commentators, that's the correct use of the word "clinch."  When you have games yet that you're definitely going to play no matter what, but you could lose all of them and still reach the postseason, that's called clinching.  When you win the fourth game of a seven game series, and no more games will be played, that's called winning.

Anyway, the Pirates could clinch tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are finally tanking--losing four in a row-- but it may be too late for the Giants.  Or whatever team is in the field wearing Giants uniforms.  On Tuesday, exactly three regular starters out of eight positions were playing.  And the three included an exhausted Matt Duffy. Adrianza played first base for the first time in his pro career, and it showed.  Nevertheless, somehow, even against a pitcher who struck out 8 Giants in the first three innings, they won 4-2.

The two rested regulars came through big--Pagan with a 2 run homer, Brandon Crawford--despite being in a deep slump, batting cleanup--got a hit and an RBI, plus a spectacular over the shoulder catch in the ninth.  But the newbies did well, too, especially catcher Trevor Brown, whose first hit as a Giant finally came--a double and an RBI.  He promptly got his second--a catcher who beat out an infield hit and then stole second.  He's doing well behind the plate, both in his defense and in handling pitchers and the game.  Yes, he's a keeper.

The Dodgers are still 6 games in first with 12 to play.  They will have to tank in epic fashion--and they are capable of this--and the Giants have to miraculously keep winning with a patched together lineup.  They might not even have Adrianza tomorrow--he got beat up on a hot shot in the ninth that bounced off his shin and hit him in the mouth.  If he's out and Buster Posey's back and hip aren't better, it's anybody's guess who will be playing their first game at first base tomorrow night. (And as feared, Perez did suffer a serious injury last game and is out for the season.)

And since the theme here is San Francisco and Pittsburgh, duly noted is the Steelers easy victory over the Niners on Sunday, 43-18.  Memo to Steelers: receivers so consistently and completely open is not likely to recur very often.

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