Wednesday, September 21, 2016

NL West W L GB
LA 85 66 - It's all about tonight.
GIANTS 80 71 5 Win the series, stay in the race.
Wild Card W L GB
New York 80 71 - Braves prove no pushovers.
GIANTS 80 71 - "Stuck in the middle with you…"
St Louis 80 71 -   Don't even think about tiebreakers.

Giants defeated LA, 2-0, as Johnny Cueto won his 17th game.
New York lost again at home to Atlanta, 5-4.
St Louis defeated Colorado, 10-5.

Giants conclude the three-game series in LA with Matt Moore going against Kenta Maeda, who is 2-0 against San Francisco this year. It's no exaggeration to say that the outcome of this game will determine whether a "NL West" entry (above) continues on this blog. 7:10 PDT (10:10 EDT) at Dodger Stadium. It's the great Vin Scully's last home call of a Giants-Dodgers game.
New York wraps up the series with Atlanta; St Louis finishes up at Colorado. 

Last Night's Game
"Another such victory, and we are undone." Whatever the Giants do the rest of the way may have to be done without the help of both Johnny Cueto and Brando Crawford-- who, it could be argued, are our most valuable pitcher and player. Hustling to third, sliding in headfirst, and being tagged out, Crawford sprained a finger. Following through on a sixth-inning pitch, with a one-run lead and a shutout going, Cueto strained his groin.  Both injuries are "day-to-day," with Cueto's the most troubling. Regardless of the MRI results, Cueto has to be careful with this one, and Lord'a'mercy, Giants fans, it just could not have come at a worse time.

With a solo homer by Eduardo Nunez the only scoring, San Francisco's beleaguered bullpen managed to work through the final three-plus. Steve Okert picked up Cueto with five big outs, then it was Will Smith, who seems to get better with each appearance, and finally good old Sergio Romo nailing down his first (!) save of the season. Brandon Belt's solo shot in the top of the 9th no doubt gave Romo some cushion and comfort as he set 'em down as in the days of old (well, 2012). LA wasted nine hits while stranding ten; the Giants had 11 hits but only the two solo runs. Both teams had a man thrown out on the bases and another picked off first.

So the Giants live to see another day in the division race, and now can win the series and cut the lead back to four as they leave town.  But at the same time, a loss tonight drops our fellows 6 back with 10 to play, and no one overcomes those odds. So, without going all Kenny Loggins on ya, we can still say, "This is it."

No other division leader has clinched a title since the Cubs put theirs away last week, but Texas could do so today if they win and the fast-rising Houston Astros lose. It wasn't that long ago that the 'Stros were lingering near the division cellar; now they've passed Seattle and are only two games behind in the wild-card race. The Rangers, meanwhile, now hold the best record in the American League... Boston has put some distance between themselves and the competition in the AL East, while Cleveland is holding steady over Detroit while Kansas City slowly fades back. It's possible all the AL divisions could be formally decided by Sunday... There are still five, possibly six, teams in the hunt for the AL wild-card... The Mets' unexpected struggles against Atlanta have pushed Washington closer to clinching the NL East, even though the Nats have lost four in a  row and are playing poorly in September.  

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