Sunday, September 18, 2016

NL West W L GB
LA 84 64 - No issues with their closer.
GIANTS 79 69 5 Can't let Casilla close again.
Wild Card W L GB
GIANTS 79 69 - Samardzija deserves better.
New York 79 69 - Needed 13 but got it.
St Louis 77 71 2 Matheny's never missed playoffs.

Giants lost to St Louis, 3-2, blowing yet another save in the ninth inning.
LA defeated Arizona, 6-2.
New York defeated Minnesota, 3-2, in thirteen innings, and moved into a wild-card tie with the Giants.

Giants try to take three of four from St Louis. Alberto Suarez starts against rookie Alex Reyes. 1:05 local time (4:05 EDT) at the 'Bell.
LA wraps up at Arizona, also trying to win three of four.
New York goes for the sweep at home against obliging Minnesota.

Last Night's Game
"Well, here's another fine mess you've gotten us into."  Giants fans had a one-word abbreviation for this last night: "BOO." And the boos rained down in most un-Giants-fan-like fashion as Santiago Casilla left the field after blowing his ninth (really his tenth) save of the season, and one that may prove the most costly of his soon-to-end (we expect) Giants career. But the boos were also directed at Bruce Bochy. Yes, the beloved three-time World Champion Cooperstown-bound skipper has been unable to reproduce his bullpen alchemy this season, and as a result his moves have looked too often like a combination of guesswork, misplaced loyalty, and blind thrashing-about. What was packaged as closer-by-committee (i.e., the hot-hand approach) now looks an awful like closer-by-rotation (i.e., "It's his turn," or, more succinctly, "Russian Roulette"). After Sergio Romo had allowed a one-out single in the ninth, Giants leading 2-1, out came Casilla to face Yadier Molina. Unable, as usual, to hold the runner on first, Casilla let fast Tommy Pham steal second, obviating the double play. He then walked Molina, and a feeling of impending doom settled across the field. Randal Grichuk delivered the obligatory base hit, tying the game, and the boos echoed through the night as Casilla gave way to Matt Reynolds, who gave up the game-winning sacrifice fly, and that was it. The Cardinals have a closer, by the way, and he closed it.

Once again Jeff Samardzija did his job and then some, with no reward. The big guy has quietly pitched himself back into his earlier-season form, proving himself a solid, dependable mid-rotation starter. After yielding a first-inning solo homer, he gave up nothing the rest of the way and got two outs in the seventh before Will Smith-- maybe he should close, hah?-- finished it out. Javier Lopez and Derek Law took care of the eighth, and we can argue from hell to breakfast whether Law ought to have started the ninth, With Mike Leake pitching just as well the other way, offensive bright moments were limited to Brandon Belt's RBI double and a sacrifice fly from "Shark" himself. Eduardo Nunez, Denard Span, and Hunter Pence all went 2-for-4 and each contributed to the meager scoring.

Meager or not, you have to win this game! The Giants have now blown seven save opportunities in 16 games here in September. That's unacceptable. Last night the club was two outs away from putting a hammerlock on the Cardinals; a sweep of these four games would have all but guaranteed San Francisco a seat at the postseason table. Now St Louis can rally for a split and throw us back to where we were when the Padres left town Wednesday. All for naught, unless the Giants rally the troops, keep Casilla off the mound, and win today.

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