Saturday, August 27, 2016

Almost September

Are the post-All Star game San Francisco Giants (with the worst record in MLB) the real 2016 Giants, or are the first half Giants (with the best record in MLB)?  Those who lean towards the second proposition--or at least to the Giants as division winners--have been waiting for the team to finally turn the corner.

It looked like they might when they won the first two games of the Mets series at home.  But then they lost the next two, and the first two in LA against the Dodgers, scoring five runs in the first game but giving up 9, and then losing 1-0.  They fell 3 games back.  A Dodger sweep might finish them.

But then they got an electric almost no-hit performance by Matt Moore and won 4-0.  Moore threw 133 pitches, and had a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth.  Spoiled by a bloop single to right (and if Hunter Pence hadn't left the game with the injury that's keeping him out of the lineup until maybe Tuesday, he might have gone for the catch.)

Then back home to dominate the Braves 7-0 with all facets of their game: Jeff S.'s stingy pitching (gave up 7 hits but no runs; the Giants had 10 hits and 7 runs), solid relief work, timely hitting in multiple innings, a homer by Pagan, superior fielding--especially by Brandon Crawford.  The Dodgers lost to the Cubs and so suddenly the Giants are just one game out.

But the team is still dogged by injuries.  They lost another starting pitcher--Jake Peavy--who was back in the rotation to replace injured Matt Cain.  (Suarez takes his start tonight.)  And Pence out of the lineup again.  The Giants still have to feast on the clumsy Braves (3 errors last night) with a trip to the Cubs looming.  And the Dodgers won today, so the Giants have to win just to stay 1 back.

It's a long season, August was never a great month for the Giants or for players like Bumgarner, but they are going to have to regain their confidence over a stretch of winning--at least more than they lose, which would be a second half change. September's coming, and it's then or never.