Sunday, September 21, 2008

Giants Hurt Dodgers Big Time!

The San Francisco Giants gave the Dodgers a taste of 'what for?' when they first lost to Arizona in 4 straight games and then they traveled to Chavez Ravine to take 2 out of 3 games.

Because, since 1958 (when the Trolley Dodgers and Giants decided to move west from New York) they have always been there to haunt and torment each other in what has been the best rivalry in baseball. It may not always count in the standings, as it does this year, but when these two teams get together you must expect the unexpected with a consistency you wish most home plate umpires possessed.

Because of what the Giants did, with a little more than a week to play, the Dodgers go into the upcoming week ahead of Arizona only leading by 2.

Yesterday (9/21) was no different. On the mound were Derek Lowe of the Dodgers and the Giants' Matt Cain (Cain is 25-6 with at least 3 runs scored, 13-1 at AT&T). Cain had never beaten the Dodgers and didn't get credit for the win yesterday either, but he sure kept the Giants in the game.

In the bottom half of the 1st inning, the first 3 Dodger batters reached base only to have Cain reach back for a little something extra and dispose of the next 3 Dodgers without anyone touching home plate. Thanks in large part to a leaping grab of a line drive by Ivan Ochoa.

Later in the game Nate Schierholtz made a diving grab to snare another Dodger hit and prevent a bases-clearing extra base-hit from happening.

Later still, Aaron Rowand threw his best throw of the season to Benjie Molina at home who swipe-tagged the Dodger runner (Angel Berroa) who was called out by the home plate umpire. Further review showed he made the proper call.

Finally, in the 11th inning, after Rowand singled then was forced out on a liner by pinch-hitter, Pablo Sandoval who hustled to beat the throw trying to prevent a double-play. Brad Hennessey came in to pinch-run and stole second base when the pitcher, Saito, didn't bother to pay any attention to Brad. Brad didn't like that he wasn't noticed and went to second base without a throw.

Eugenio Velez then beat out an infield hit. Replay again showed that the first base ump, Balkin' Bob Davidson, was correct in his ruling. With Hennessey on third base and Velez on first, the clutch hitting veteran, Rich Aurilia, stroked a liner to left and Hennessey scored the first and only run of the game.

Brian "Don't Worry Baby" Wilson came in to close the door on the Dodgers and get his 40th save.
Kudos to the fine pitching performances of Matt Cain, Alex Hinshaw, Sergio Romo (Romo faced 9 Dodgers and got all 9 out) and of course, Wilson.

With 6 games remaining the Giants play their final 3 at AT&T against the Dodgers. We'll have to wait and see if those games have any bearing on which team wins the Pacific division, Los Angeles or Arizona. I think is quite possible that the Dodgers could miss Tim Lincecum in the rotation again, as he pitched the final game of the Diamondback series before this past series.

(I can't help but think of the blip shown during Comcast telecasts of Giants games where the highlight is of Joe Morgan hitting a home run to knock the Dodgers out of the playoffs. Then Darrell Evans says how he knows most of the guys over there so he doesn't want to rub it in or anything but 'Now they know how we feel,' and then the camera zooms in on his Howdy Doody-looking mug as he kiddingly says something to the effect, 'so it was a good thing that happened.')

You know the Giants' vets and rooks were feeling it yesterday and will look forward to the final 3 at AT&T just to relive that good vibration. If Brian Wilson gets the save of the game that knocks the Dodgers out of the playoffs, his nickname will change once again to Brian "Good Vibrations" Wilson.

Kevin Marquez