Thursday, April 20, 2017

Two Sides of the Bay: Warriors Up, Giants Down

With the first game in the bank, the Golden State Warriors hit the home floor against Portland in the first round of the playoffs without Kevin Durant and two other injured players.  They dressed 11 guys, 5 of them centers.  Then during the game, both Steph Curry and Klay Thompson had off nights shooting, especially the 3s.

So game 2 was a loss, right?  Not exactly.  The Dubs won by 29 points.

High octane defense, especially in the third quarter, and other players more than rising to the occasion, especially rookie Patrick McCaw (starting for Durant) and tall flying man JaVale McGee.  McGee changed the game in limited minutes, and while McCaw made some big momentum-changing shots (banking a fearless 3 pointer, followed by a fearless layup in traffic) he was credited with defensive intensity throughout the game.

Even with lots of misses, both Curry and Thompson had some exciting moments, including some deadly Steph deep threes, and a Thompson sequence beginning with a soaring block at one end and a catch-and-shoot three at the other.  A fun game of highlights, especially the third quarter, when the Dubs held Portland to 12 total points.

While the Warriors keep looking better (and a final collision with Cleveland looking even more likely), the San Francisco Giants continued their woeful April.  Like the end of last season, every time it seems they've hit the low point, they go lower.  After surviving extra innings in Kansas City with a 2-1 win, their bats were again silent in support of Madison Bumgarner, leading to a scandalous fourth loss in his first four starts.

As bad as things were in terms of hitting percentage for left fielders, it got worse with the injury to J. Parker, who will be out awhile.  Two other potential left fielders are also injured, though former Michael Morse is playing himself back in shape in the minors.

The only difference is that the bullpen pitching has been pretty good lately.  It's mostly a lack of hitting, especially run-producing hits.  Everyone expects that to begin happening, but for the sake of the season, it really should happen soon.

Update 4/21: First the Pittsburgh Pirates saw their season devastated by the suspension of star Marte.  Today an off the field injury to Madison Bumgarner that will keep him off the mound for several months pretty much devastates the Giants' season, which is already in bad shape.  MadBum started strong, hitting two homers and taking a perfect game into the sixth inning on opening day, and pitching very well since, despite absent run support.  But a pretty dumb dirt bike accident has wrecked the Giants' rotation, and who knows what it will do to his pitching future.  A  very sad turn of events.