Wednesday, September 5, 2012

GIANTS       77-59   ...              Last three starts a worrying trend.
Los Angeles  73-64   4.5 GB      Haven't gained a game in weeks.

Giants lost to Arizona, 8-6, in eleven innings.
LA obligingly lost to San Diego, 6-3, also in 11 innings.

Giants finish up with Arizona; 7:15 start. Madison Bumgarner takes the baton in search of his fifteenth win.
LA conclude the San Diego series, then get ready to fly north.

Last Night's Game
Bruce Bochy's pitching merry-go-'round may have reached its apotheosis last night, or more likely that's just wishful thinking. Ten-- count 'em, ten-- relievers paraded across the stage in support of Ryan Vogelsong, who surrendered six runs before being yanked with one out in the fourth. Three names you may not know-- Dan Otero, Shane Loux, and Jose Mijares-- safely guided the way through the seventh, giving the Giants a chance to rally and tie it up. But in the can't-stand-prosperity department, it took three more pitchers-- Jean Machi, Jeremy Affeldt, and finally Santiago Casilla-- just to get through the eighth. Then Sergio Romo was Da Man in the ninth and tenth, getting six straight outs, but in the tenth it fell upon Javier Lopez, whose whole season has been a struggle. Coming in with one on and one out, facing Jason Kubel in one of those lefty-lefty situations "Boch" loves, Lopez gave up a triple and, later, an RBI single for insurance. The last cast member to take a bow was Guillermo Mota, who successfully closed the barn door after the horse had bolted. Bright moments? Mostly on offense, where Brandon Belt capped a three-hit night with a monster two-run homer into McCovey Cove in the sixth, making it a one-run game. An inning later, Pablo Sandoval, who had opened that sixth-inning rally with a double, singled to tie the game. In the weirdness department, both teams loaded the bases with one out in the eighth and didn't score. This was a fine moment for Casilla, who came in with the sacks clogged and got two popups to end it, and a not-so-fine one for Hector Sanchez, who grounded into a double play in the bottom of the frame to kill the Giants' threat.

It's Fat City for a change here in the mid-Atlantic, where the perennially-awful Washington Nationals have morphed into Murderers' Row, leading the NL East by seven and a half games. And last night the Baltimore Orioles beat the Yankees to tie for first in the AL East, having gained five games in ten days. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, lurks just a game and a half behind. The AL Central also has a real pennant race, with Detroit a game behind the White Sox, and in the AL West the Texas Rangers have yet to shake off the Oakland A's and the distant-but-dangerous L.A. Angels. As for the National League, the Giants and Dodgers are it for pennant-race aficionados, since Cincinnati has sewed up the Central much as Washington has the East.

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