Thursday, September 3, 2015

LA 75 57 - Kershaw strikes out 15. 
GIANTS 69 64 6.5 Now must win and get help.

Giants lost at LA, 2-1, as Clayton Kershaw outdueled Mike Leake, and the Dodgers swept the series.

Giants soldier on at Colorado. Ryan Vogelsong opens the four-game series tonight at 6:40 local time (8:40 EDT). Lefthander Chris Rusin opposes. 
LA is at San Diego to start a weekend series.

Last Night's Game
Well, for the second straight night, the Giants got a strong start-- from Mike Leake, this time-- only to see LA put up an even stronger start, as Clayton Kershaw fanned 15 Giants in a complete-game victory that drew unavoidable comparisons to our own Madison Bumgarner's classic performances. Each team managed six hits; in the Giants' case, all were singles, while LA saw Carl Crawford drive in Justin Turner with a second-inning double and Chase Utley deliver his first home run since joining the blue crew. It was an answer-back shot in the bottom of the sixth, after Kelby Tomlinson had manufactured a run by drawing a walk, avoiding, with the help of instant replay, an adroit pickoff move by Kershaw, stealing second, and scoring on Angel Pagan's nasty ground ball that eluded third baseman Turner. It didn't help at all that the Giants lost two men on the bases, both victims of the same Kershaw pickoff move that almost nailed "Clark Kent." Opportunities against the big lefty are too rare to waste, and in true Kershaw fashion he got stronger as the final few outs approached. Not since Nolan Ryan fanned 16 on a humid night in Houston back in 1987 had so many Giants batted the breeze. As for Leake, he did his typical low-key job, helped quite a bit by some sharp defense, including a Pagan-to-Tomlinson double play that caught Turner napping off second and may have prevented another run.

The Giants came in here having won 9 of 12 against the Dodgers; that "pwnage" we've been bragging about most of the year now lies mouldering in the dust. With Chicago likewise winning and taking an identical lead in the wild-card chase, the Giants are left facing some extremely unappetizing numbers. If LA goes just 15-15 the rest of the way, the Giants must go 21-8 to tie 'em. As Brandon Belt bravely put it last night, if they gain a game a week over the next three weeks, they'll have a chance to take the lead when LA arrives at the 'Bell for a four-game stand on Monday the 28th. On the other hand, if they don't, that series may not even matter. It might not take a collapse of San Diegan proportions (viz. 2010) for Our Boys to have a chance, but we're on the fringes of that desperate territory now. Needless to say, teams like the Rockies simply can't be allowed to stand in the way. The Giants need three of these next four games, or we may be able to rest our typing fingers for the duration.  

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