Thursday, September 13, 2012

GIANTS       81-62    ...          Magic number: 13.
Los Angeles  74-69    7 GB    This is turning into a simple countdown.

Giants defeated Colorado, 8-3, taking two out of three at Coors Field.
LA lost again at Arizona, 3-2; the Diamondbacks swept the series and now are closer to the Dodgers than are the Dodgers to the Giants.

Giants have the day off. They're on their way to Arizona for the weekend.
LA opens a four-game series at home against St Louis. Right now the Dodgers and Cardinals are the contenders for the second wild-card spot, with Pittsburgh just behind and (gasp) the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers coming up on the outside, running hard.

Last Night's Game
Dominant no more, Tim Lincecum pitched smart, got himself out of a couple of jams, and let the Giants' five-run first inning carry him home to win number nine. Oh, he can still bring it, as evidenced by eight strikeouts in six innings, but he also walked four and gave up six hits. His game WHIP (1.67) and ERA (4.50) are pretty much in line with his season totals. The good news is, he hasn't had a bad start since mid-August, and folks, that truly is encouraging. As for that five-run first, it was a six-man effort, with Gregor Blanco's leadoff (yes!) triple and Brandon Crawford's two-run double sandwiched around four singles.

Blanco replaced Angel Pagan in center and in the leadoff spot, as Pagan is nursing a split callus (not "callous," as would have it; that adjectival reference is more appropriate for our own attitude toward grammatical and usage errors; snark) that makes it difficult for him to grip a bat... Brandon Belt is hitting .351 over the past six weeks and is spending more time in left field, which ia also good news for Hector Sanchez... All the pennant races are in the American League. Texas can't shake off the Oakland A's, who have closed within three by winning six straight, while Detroit will be trying for a sweep of the White Sox tonight and a flat-footed tie for first place in the Central. Then there's the East, where Baltimore has held on to a tie for first by knocking Tampa back three games, and the Yankees kept pace by beating Boston in Fenway Park last night. The change in status of the wild-card spot has, as we had hoped, made the division pennant much more attractive, and there doesn't appear to be a "settle for" team dampening the enthusiasm in those division races.

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