Results tagged ‘ Los Angeles Dodgers ’
Baseball is a funny game.
Fresh off a tough loss Sunday in Oakland — wasting an outstanding performacne from Matt Cain — the Giant fans entered Monday matchup with the Dodgers with low expectations with Barry Zito on the mound.
So what does Zito do? He shut out the Dodgers on three hits over seven innings of work, leading to an 8-0 victory that pulled the Giants within two game of first place.
Even Zito admitted that he wasn’t facing the same Dodgers lineup that led L.A. to a strong start. Yet, these are games the Giants need to win.
“They’re pretty banged up over there, and we’ve got to capitalize on that,” he said.
We mentioned last week that every time the Giants lose a game started by Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong, they need to win a game started by Zito and Tim Lincecum.
Giants fans are hoping more wins will come in Freak starts, but they are never sure about Zito.
But the Giants lost to the Angels when Vogelsong started Wednesday, then won a Lincecum start Friday in Oakland. They lost a Cain start Sunday, then won a Zito a start Tuesday.
Now Vogelsong returns to the mound to face off with Clayton Kershaw in what figures to be a low scoring game. The Giants beat Kershaw the last time they faced him in L.A. Let’s see if they can make it two in a row.
If I told you that Tim Lincecum regularly hit 93 mph on the speed gun, walked just two and struck out eight, including Matt Kemp three times as part of an 0-for-5 night, you’d have to think it was a great night for the Freak and the Giants.
Oh, it was a so close to being true.
The game got away from Lincecum in the fourth inning, and Giants could not recover. Lincecum put himself in a bad position by leaving some pitches up. But his outstanding start to the game was completely undone by one bad pitch.
Giants fans had to feel good after Lincecum got through the first inning unscathed. He mixed in a walk and a single in-between three strikeouts in a 24-pitch frame.
But he was back to his dominant self in the second and third innings, with his fastball hitting 93 mph and his slider at 87 mph, a good 3-4 mph bump from his previous outings.
Then came the fourth. It started with Andre Ethier lacing a double to right. Lincecum left a pitch up and Bobby Abreu slapped it into center, with Ethier holding at third.
Juan Uribe hit a ball sharply to third that Joaquin Arias was able to glove, but slipped when he went to throw Abreu out at second. That went for an infield single as Ethier scored.
A wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third before a James Loney struck out for the first out.
Lincecum walked AJ Ellis on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. Dodger skipper Don Mattingly pinch-hit for pitcher Chad Billingsley, calling on Tony Gwynn Jr.
But Lincecum jumped out to an 0-2 count. And that’s when he hung a curve ball right in the middle of the plate that Gwynn whacked to right for a three-run triple. Dodgers 4, Giants 2.
And that was it.
“You’re questioning yourself during games and during situations like that,” Lincecum said. “It’s just about execution. That’s what it comes down to making a better pitch in a situation where you’re ahead in the count, it’s in your favor and you’ve got their guy guessing. So why give the guy a cookie down the middle that he can see well?”
Why indeed. Lincecum got out of the fourth with the 4-2 deficit. He would pitch the fifth before exiting with 101 pitches, 74 for strikes.
The fourth inning had a double-negative effect on the Giants. It created an opportunity for the Dodgers to get Billngsley out of the game.
The Giants tagged Billingsley for seven hits and four walks in four innings, but again failed to big hit to break the game open.
Actually, two Nate Schierholtz plays on the basepaths really hurt the Giants.
In the second, after drawing a one-out walk, Schierholtz was caught stealing second base. That was followed by a walk to Arias, single by Brandon Crawford and single by Tim Lincecum that produced the game’s first run, when it should have produced at least two.
In the third, it got worse for Schierholtz.
Melky Cabrera had a one-out triple and scored on Buster Posey’s single. Brandon Belt grounded into a force play, but Schierholtz singled to put runners on first and second. Arias singled to center that appeared to score Belt, but Schierholtz made a big turn around second and scrambled back to the bag. Matt Kemp alertly saw this and threw Schierholtz out BEFORE Belt came across the plate.
That’s two runs the Giants left on the base paths, perhaps even more.
As we’ve said before, the Giants don’t have the kind of offense to keep making mistakes that prevent runs from being scored.
The Giants get a day off Thursday before opening a three-game series in Arizona, who are riding a five-game losing streak.
The normally cheerful pre-game notes from the Giants PR department were sort of ominous Tuesday.
The Giants were 0-5 against Clayton Kershaw last season, the first time they had lost five times to the same pitcher since 1961.
The Giants haven’t homered in six games and don’t have a homer by a guy who doesn’t currently have a broken hamate bone in their last nine games.
The Giants lead the majors with 33 errors and have 11 two-error games.
The one positive note: Giants starting pitchers have a 2.49 ERA over the past 19 games.
Of course, the theme to all of these notes were “Due for a W.”
Brett Pill belted a two-run homer, Ryan Vogelsong gave up just one run in 71/3 innings, the Giants committed no errors and turned four double plays, and a shutdown relief job by Javier Lopez and Santiago Casilla added up to a 2-1 win over Kershaw and the Dodgers.
It was great news for the Giants, and great news for Pill.
Pill appeared to be first in line for a demotion to Fresno last weekend before the anticipated activation of Aubrey Huff.
Instead, the Giants opted to go with the short bullpen for the time being. The move has worked so far as the Giants have not had to use Clay Hensley or Sergio Romo in this series and Casilla only threw two pitches on Tuesday.
We’ll see how long that last.
In the meantime, the spotlight shined on Pill, who used a good memory to help him on Tuesday.
Pill went 0 for 6 with four strikeouts against Kershaw during his callup last September. But he remembered one thing about the Dodgers’ left.
“Last year, he threw me a lot of first-pitch fastballs,” Pill said. “Luckily, he left one over the plate. After that, he didn’t throw that again.”
And Pill struck out twice before being lifted for defensively purposes.
- Angel Pagan left after tweaking his already troublesome hamstring in the ninth. Manager Bruce Bochy said it wasn’t serious, but we could expect a start in CF by Gregor Blanco on Wednesday.
- Inexiplicably, Ryan Theriot continues to get starts at 2B against left. Even more confusing is that he keeps batting in the No. 2 hole. Bochy is starting Theriot based on reputation of being able to hit lefties. Yet, Theriot is down to .179 on the season, and he’s actually hitting righties better. He’s hitting .227 after RHP and .148 against LHP. Bochy has access to these stats, doesn’t he?
- Brandon Belt got a rare start against a LHP. He walked and hit two balls very hard for outs to the outfield, including one that Matt Kemp had to reel in against the wall in right-center.
Tim Lincecum returns to the mound — and glad that he’s not facing Kershaw. Instead, it’s Chad Billingsley who gets the start in the 7:10 p.m. game.
Let’s take another shot at the lineup for Wednesday.
CF Gregor Blanco
3B Conor Gillaspie
RF Melky Cabrera
C Buster Posey
1B Brandon Belt
RF Nate Schierholtz
2B Joaquin Arias
SS Brandon Crawford
P Tim Lincecum
The box score will say Barry Zito had a quality start with three earned runs in 6 innings pitch.
But anyone who watched the Giants’ loss to the Dodgers know Zito deserved better.
Granted, Zito did spend some time dodging bullets in the early innings. But as he’s managed to do well this season, he was working his way out of trouble, instead of into big innings.
But Zito needed some help from his defense Tuesday, and did not get it.
In the third inning, Mark Ellis hit a one-out double to left. Zito walked Matt Kemp intentionally, and then Andre Ethier unintentionally (after starting him off 0-2 in typical Zito fashion).
But Zito looked like he’d get out of the inning when Juan Rivera hit a grounder right at Ryan Theriot. But instead of turning an inning-ending double play, Theriot bobbled the ball, and only got the out at first, allowing Ellis to score the game’s first run.
After the Giants tied the game in the top of the sixth, the defense helped give the lead back.
With one out, Bobby Abreu hit a slow chopper to third. A good third baseman like Pablo Sandoval makes the play and throws Abreu out. A weak-throwing third baseman like Conor Gillaspie does not. Abreu gets an infield hit.
After Jose Uribe walked, A.J. Ellis hit a bloop double to right that scored Abreu.
Then Tony Gwynn Jr. tried a safety squeeze that was too hard to Gillaspie to allow Uribe to score. But Gillaspie’s throw to first was off-line, and Uribe did score. Actually, Theriot was backing up the throw, but he failed to catch the ball cleanly. If he does, Uribe holds at third.
The Dodgers added another run in the seventh on a throwing error by pitcher Steve Edlefsen when he made the poor decision to try to throw out Matt Kemp at third, instead of getting the sure out at first.
An error by Buster Posey on a sacrifice bunt and Gillaspie’s inability to prevent a bunt single by Dee Gordon in the eighth set a five-run inning in motion.
Manager Bruce Bochy said the Giants defense “looked like we skipped spring training.” He and his staff even discussed putting the best defensive team on the field Wednesday — righty-lefty matchups be damned.
Well, it couldn’t hurt, especially with the way the Giants hitters are performing.
But here’s an interesting note about Clayton Kershaw.
Teams this year have stacked their lineups with righties against the left-handed Kershaw. Righties have 124 plate appearances in six games against Kershaw this year, compared to 24 by lefties.
Yet, righties are still hitting just .175 against him, while lefties are hitting .304.
The strikeout rate is much high among lefties (.360 to .202). But of the four home runs Kershaw has allowed this season, three have come from lefties.
Hey, it’s worth a shot. So if Bochy is honest about putting his best defensive team on the field Wednesday, this is how is should look.
- RF Gregor Blanco (I would rather put him in CF, but that won’t happen)
- 3B Joaquin Blanco
- LF Melky Cabrera
- C Buster Posey
- CF Angel Pagan
- 1B Brandon Belt
- 2B Emmanuel Burriss
- SS Brandon Crawford
- P Ryan Vogelsong
Ryan Vogelsong takes the mound against Kershaw at 7:10 p.m. The game will be carried live by the MLB Network, if you dare to watch.
The San Francisco Giants’ pursuit to bring Juan Uribe back into fold seems to have taken an interesting twist over the weekend.
Last week, the Giants re-signed Aubrey Huff for two years, $22 million. And the Giants said they matched a deal offered by another team to get that deal done.
Word has come in over the weekend that the “other team” was the Los Angeles Dodgers, who could have plugged Huff at first base and non-tendered or traded James Loney. They also could have started Huff in LF.
And now comes word that the Dodgers are going hot and heavy after another Giants free agent — Juan Uribe.
The Dodgers would look to plug Uribe at 2B, where non-tender candidate Ryan Theriot is currently playing. So the question is whether or not the Dodgers turn up the heat to sign Uribe before Thursday’s non-tender deadline. Or maybe they’ve already made the decision to non-tender Theriot.
It might be time for the Giants to get Uribe signed to a two-year deal in the ballpark of $16 million. The Giants would deeply miss his bat in the lineup, and it would make it worse to lose him to the freakin’ Dodgers.
And the Giants need to start thinking not just about 2011, but about 2012. Here are a list of current Giants who will be eligible for free agency after the 2011 season: 2B Freddy Sanchez, IF-OF Mark DeRosa, OF Andres Torres, OF Cody Ross, RP Jeremy Affeldt, SP Jonathan Sanchez.
If the Giants don’t sign Uribe to a multi-year deal, they’ll likely replace him with a player on a one-year deal (either signing a free agent to a one-year deal, or trading for someone who will be eligible for free agency after 2011).
So C’mon Giants. Let’s get this done. The alternatives are not good.