|New York||85||74||-||2 of 3 in Philly should do it.|
|GIANTS||84||75||-||A lot of hustle on display.|
|St Louis||83||76||1||Controversial walk-off win.|
Giants defeated Colorado, 7-2, to take the series.
New York was idle.
St Louis defeated Cincinnati, 4-3, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a play that might have been overturned by instant replay.
Giants open the season's final series against LA at the 'Bell. Lefthanders Madison Bumgarner and Rich Hill square off at 7:15 local time (10:15 EDT).
New York opens a three-game set at Philadelphia.
St Louis hosts Pittsburgh in the first of three at Busch Stadium.
Last Night's Game
You get Johnny Cueto early, or you don't get him at all. The Rockies did their level best in the first inning as Cueto, perhaps a bit tentative with his motion after the recent groin pull, allowed three hits and two runs mixed in with three strikeouts. But that was all they got as Cueto rolled through seven; by the time he left the game he was positively dealin', and the old hesitation, side-step, and paddlewheeler moves were back. He won his 18th game with 11 strikeouts and just one walk, though he was dinged for nine hits, most of them early in the game. And Cueto's all-around skills were on display in the sixth as the Giants scored three of the biggest runs they may earn all season. They'd tied it at 2-2 in the fourth when Buster Posey opened with a walk and Hunter Pence with a double; Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik drove them in. In the sixth, Crawford lined an infield single off pitcher Jon Gray's shin; Gray's quick recovery was marred by a wild throw to first and Crawford took the extra base. Angel Pagan caught third baseman Nolan Arenado flat-footed with a bunt single, Crawford taking third. Panik tapped one toward first: Geraldo Parra thought he'd trapped Crawford off third and threw to the bag, but Arenado's tag was late (and confirmed so by replay). Bases loaded and Conor Gillaspie broke the tie with the inning's first out, a fly ball to deep left. First and second and Cueto rolled an absolutely perfect bunt past the lunging Gray; Arenado had broken for third but now recovered and made a quick pickup, but his inning-from-hell continued when he threw hastily and wildly past first. Both Pagan and Panik came all the way around to score. It was 5-2 and the entire Giants bench, from Pence to Giant-for-a-week Gordon Beckham, was jumping in jubilation. And for once the Giants' bullpen contrasted favorably with their opponents'. Three walks plus a hit batsman resulted in two more Giants runs in the eighth, and the lead was capably handled by Derek Law, Javier Lopez, Hunter Strickland, and Sergio Romo.
Yadier Molina lined a one-hop double off the fence in left field at Busch Stadium last night, Matt Carpenter came around to score the winning run, and the St Louis Cardinals burst exuberantly onto the field, hollering and celebrating as if they'd won the pennant. The umpiring crew clustered together, lingered around the field for a time, then strolled off unhurriedly toward their clubhouse. On "MLB Tonight," commentators were already pointing out that the recessed set of billboards off which Molina's drive had caromed were out of play and that the drive should have been ruled a ground-rule double, forcing Carpenter to hold third. A subsequent tweet from the umpiring crew confirmed it; they'd missed it on the field but seen it on replays. Since Reds manager Bryan Price made no appeal, the point was moot and the run, and the win, will stand. At the time, the Giants were trailing Colorado 2-0 and Harold Reynolds, among others, waxed most eloquent about how this all might cost San Francisco their place in the wild-card standings. Fortunately, the Giants obviated any controversy by winning their game. Reynolds had a point, though, regarding the umpiring crew. It's easy to ask how "four guys could miss something like that," but in truth only one guy missed it-- the third-base umpire. Having umpired ourselves in the past, we can confirm that the first-base umpire was trailing Molina to and past first, the second-base umpire was trailing Carpenter as he rounded second and headed for third, and the home-plate umpire was getting in position for a play at the plate as well as ready to break for third if Carpenter slowed and/or the throw went there instead. Only the third-base umpire was expected to monitor the path of the ball as it went out to left field, and he just missed the call. It's a tricky one, in any case; the recessed wall sits atop the main wall, perhaps six feet back, leaving a ledge atop the main wall. We would suggest the Cardinals amend the ground rule to keep balls like Molina's in play, while dead-balling any ball that comes to rest atop the ledge or rolls along it.
The Wild, Wild Card
We can expect the LA Dodgers to do their level best to sweep the Giants and knock them out of the wild-card race. While Dave Roberts is unlikely to make "playoff-level" moves to win these games, there's no chance the Dodgers will coast, rest key players, or otherwise ease up. They have a chance to win home-field advantage in the division series from Washington by winning here, and they want it. Rich Hill, Clayton Kershaw, and Kenta Maeda are a formidable one-two-three punch by themselves, though it's likely Roberts will limit their pitch totals a little more than he would in, say, June-- or October. Mum's the word on the Giants' Saturday starter, although starting rookie Ty Blach would force the Dodgers to face three lefthanders in a row-- and left-handed pitching has been a problem for them this year. Matt Moore has not been officially listed as Sunday's starter, but we can't see who else Bruce Bochy would choose. From LA's point of view, it'll probably take a sweep, which none of us here want to even think about, to catch Washington. The Nats are still two games ahead of LA in won-loss record, though they do face the troublesome Miami Marlins this weekend.
The Cardinals have the excellent Carlos Martinez (tonight) and venerable Adam Wainwright (Sunday) going this weekend. Our old friend Ryan Vogelsong is slated to start against Wainwright for the Pirates on Sunday. We want him to win, sure-- but let's just hope we don't need him to win... The Mets, meanwhile, have the ageless and shapeless Bartolo Colon on Saturday and "Thor" himself, Noah Syndergaard, in Sunday's finale. Tonight is rookie Robert Gsellman and his one month of major-league experience. Don't count him out; if any team can match the Giants for developing outstanding young starting pitchers, it's the New York Mets... Over in the American League it's really wild: Baltimore blew everything up by beating Toronto two in a row. Not only are the O's and Jays now tied for the wild-card lead, but this development keeps Detroit and Seattle, who've both also gained two games the past two days, in the hunt. The Tigers wrap up with an interleague series at the NL's worst team, Atlanta; both Jordan Zimmermann and Justin Verlander are scheduled to pitch this weekend. What's really strange is that Detroit has played one less game than their competitors, so there is a tentative game between the Tigers and Indians penciled in for Monday back in Detroit, if it proves necessary... Seattle, meanwhile, opened their concluding four-game set against the Oakland A's with a win last night. They are two games out and need help from everyone... Baltimore will try to keep the momentum rolling at Yankee Stadium this weekend. It's already playoff time for the Birds and they haven't announced starters for Saturday or Sunday yet... Toronto, meanwhile, had to have been hoping things would be sewed up nice 'n' neat before this season-ending series at Fenway Park. The Sox have Rick (22-4) Porcello and David (17-9) Price awaiting; the Jays have yet to show their cards.
On The Record
Each Giants starting pitcher recorded double-digit strikeout totals in the series against the Rockies as Matt Moore, Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto totaled 11 apiece on Tuesday through Thursday. According to Stats, it's just the second time since 1913 that Giants starters recorded 10-plus strikeouts in three consecutive games. The only other time this happened was Aug. 24-27, 1975, when Ed Halicki (10 strikeouts against the Mets in a no-hitter), Pete Falcone (12 strikeouts against Montreal) and John Montefusco (14 strikeouts against Montreal) accomplished the feat.
--From the Giants' website at sfgiants.com
For all of you-- well, okay, both of you-- who remember the 1975 Giants, this will bring back some memories. "The Count" was a rookie in 1975 and also the best pitcher on an underrated staff that included Jim Barr, Mike Caldwell, and Gary Lavelle. Montefusco, Halicki, and Falcone were all rookies that year, and pitching was the reason the club improved by 8 games over the dreadful 1974 edition. Winning 31 games his first two seasons at the 'Stick, "The Count" was briefly a local celebrity; by the time he left after the 1980 campaign he was the "punch" line of a not-very-funny joke. The 6'-7" Halicki, after pitching Frisco's first no-hitter since Gaylord Perry in 1968, succumbed to arm troubles by 1979 and was done before his 30th birthday. Oddest story of all is Falcone's. Here's a 21-year-old lefthander, winning 12 games (for a team that was outscored and finished 80-81) and posting a 4.17 ERA (league average 3.62). Yes, he walked 111 men in 190 innings-- but remember, this is a 21-year-old kid making 32 starts in the major leagues. He was traded that winter to the St Louis Cardinals for Ken Reitz, one of the stupidest trades we've ever seen. Falcone had a better season in 1976 for the Cards, though a worse W-L record. After that arm troubles set in and in 1979 he was dealt to his hometown team, the Mets, certainly the worst team in baseball at the time. He got his game back in New York, alternating between starting and relieving, then was traded to the Atlanta Braves, who had taken over from the Mets as the league's worst team. One good season, one bad season, and he was done at age 30. He never completely got over the wildness, and there's no guarantee he would have become a star in San Francisco-- but who in tarnation trades a 21-year-old lefty with electric stuff for anything less than a bonafide All-Star? Now we can see why 1975, with an 80-81 record, was one of the Giants' better seasons in that dreary decade.