Before Thursday’s game, the big news was sitting on top of Bruce Bochy’s 8 1/8-sized head in the form of a 49ers hat. Lately the San Francisco Giants have been winning games at almost the same clip as the 49ers since Harbaugh took over, and on a sunny afternoon they emphatically completed a 4-game sweep against the hapless Colorado Rockies.
With the way the Giants are playing, Bruce Bochy didn’t even plan on watching the Dodgers play the Nationals this evening.
“No, I’m probably going to go to dinner to be honest,” Bochy said. “Seen enough baseball today. It’s up to us to take care of business.”
There isn’t much business left as far as clinching the National League West is concerned. The Magic Number is now at four and dropping, almost by the hour.
And for those of you worried about a collapse of historic proportions, you should probably look about 400 miles south. The Los Angeles Dodgers (losing 4-1 as I write this) are playing just as poorly as the Colorado Rockies these days, while the Giants keep going with their formula:
Score first, don’t kick the ball around, hold the lead … repeat.
They’re even hitting home runs at AT&T Park now, that’s how dominant they’ve become. And after watching so many games here this season, it’s weird to see the Giants hit HRs, especially to left. Pablo Sandoval crushed a belt-high fastball over the middle of the plate to left to give the Giants a 3-0 lead in the first inning — the eighth straight game where the Giants have scored first — and then followed up a little later by hitting a slider off his back foot that only Sandoval could lift into the right field arcade. It was the first time in his career that Sandoval has homered from both sides of the plate.
Buster Posey reminded us all why the Giants are in their current position with a 412-foot homer to left, and the rout was on. Whether or not any of the Giants watch the Dodgers tonight or enjoy a delicious meal at one of San Francisco fine restaurants, there’s still a chance that the Giants can clinch on Saturday.
“The view looks great,” said Angel Pagan of the Giants’ perch in the standings.
— It’s rare that a pitcher can get a thunderous ovation while leaving a game in which he allowed 10 hits and failed to complete six innings, but that’s the love Zito received. I’ll say this for Zito, he gives himself a lot more margin for error when he keeps the walks to a minimum and allows no home runs. Well, except for this game.
Zito went as far as to call Giants supporters “the best fans in baseball.”
Video length: 18 seconds
— Hector Sanchez went 3-for-4. The guy gets a lot of grief for not walking enough (ever, really), but lost in the “why can’t Buster and Timmy and Barry get along” stuff is the fact that Sanchez is still 22 and the Giants have done a pretty darn good of giving him regular playing time. With Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford playing their best ball at the end of the season, it appears the Giants aren’t as resistant to the idea of developing their younger players as they were even a year ago.
— And even though some fan in the stands screamed for Eli Whiteside when Ryan Theriot came up to pinch hit, one of the reasons why the Giants have thrived in Posey’s first year back from ankle surgery is that Sanchez has allowed Posey to rest when needed.
— Joaquin Arias’ fielding hasn’t been all that great lately. Not sure what’s going on there, besides maybe fatigue or a lingering injury of some sort.
— Before the game, Tim Flannery called Brandon Crawford the team’s best baserunner and perhaps the smartest player on the field during an awkward interview with Gary Radnich and Larry Krueger. I’m still trying to figure out why Radnich started making jokes about Gregor Blanco at the end of the interview; Blanco’s a good interview, a good guy and will probably play a lot during the postseason. But he isn’t making very much money, so he’s an easy target. Sigh…
— The Rockies have been around for 20 years now, and they’ve only won more than 83 games twice.
— We’re at the point in the year where the guys start talking about how the clubhouse chemistry is great and they all love each other. “We’re all friends over here,” Pagan said.
Video length: 25 seconds
— Bochy on Aubrey Huff: “He did a great job of turning that double into a double. For a second he thought it was illegal to go to second.” Yeah, Bochy was in a good mood this afternoon.
— I guess we’ll end with this.
(.GIF via @gidget)
Brian Wilson is making his presence felt these days. First there’s the ridiculously photoshopped picture he tweeted of Alex Smith wearing a Giants cap next to Vernon Davis’ body with Wilson’s head, with referee Roger Goodell looking on.
While Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner inspired Sandoval through the power of teasing, Wilson’s dance of joy celebration in the dugout suddenly became thing over the last two days. I asked Sandoval about the dance (HARD-HITTING REPORTING) and what it’s like to have Wilson around.
Video length: 28 seconds