Arizona Diamondbacks

Giants need to worry about fending off Brewers in Wild Card race, Gutierrez is literally a junk baller

Ryan Vogelsong San Francisco Giants

The Dodgers’ lead over the Giants is four games. With only 12 games left after L.A. won 11-3 in Denver and the Giants lost 6-2 in Phoenix, the likelihood of the Giants (82-68) so much as tying the Dodgers (86-64) isn’t high. Not with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw scheduled to pitch the second and third games of the next series between the two teams.

Oh, you can go ahead and hope all you want, but the Giants — like Michael Crabtree and the 49ers — have bigger fish to fry. Like Bernie Brewer, who isn’t a fish. Sausages aren’t fish either, but the point stands, however clumsily. The Giants are still the top Wild Card team, but that advantage is shrinking.

After three straight losses (and tonight’s was pretty easy to explain — Ryan Vogelsong walked the bases loaded and threw a cookie to Mark Trumbo, and the Giants failed to drive in a run twice after putting guys on first and third with one out), the Giants are four games ahead of the Brewers (78-72) and 2.5 games up on the Pirates (79-70). The Braves (75-75) have lost their last four. They’re done. RIP Barves.

There’s a chance the Dodgers take a tumble in their next six games (two at Coors, four at Wrigley), the Giants embark on another win streak that starts tomorrow, and the Mon-Tue-Wed series in Los Angeles gives us one last chance to watch these teams compete for the same thing. But there’s also a chance the Giants go into the tank and miss out on the playoffs entirely. And that’s where we’ll transition to the notes, where we’ll start with some good news, drop in some bad, and finish with some gross.

Extra BASGs

— Brandon Belt was activated today, which means the Giants will always have a left-handed bat on the bench. Hooray! Whatever happened to Tyler Colvin, anyway?

— Joaquin Arias went 3-for-3 to raise his average to .261. He’s one of the hottest hitters on the team. Baseball!

— We’re looking at the future every time Hunter Strickland and Eric Cordier come in and fire 99 mph fastballs. Throw in Derek Law (recovering from Tommy John surgery), and the Giants’ bullpen could look a lot like the Royals’ pen pretty soon.

— Angel Pagan was a late scratch with “back stiffness.” Bruce Bochy told the beat writers that Pagan will probably play tomorrow. “I always try to go out there and do my best, but today was one of those days I needed a break,” Pagan said.

— Pablo Sandoval had a hip issue during the game (it was pretty obvious, just based on the way he was running in the eighth inning), but he got an adjustment (#ChiropractorTalk!) and should be fine.

— BREAKING: the Giants in mid-September.

— Vogelsong said he had a lot to work on before this start, because even though he allowed no runs and two hits to the D-Backs on Wednesday, he also walked five and said none of his pitches were working after the fact. Vogelsong walked four more tonight, giving him 11 walks over three September starts. He’s also given up 18 hits and 12 earned runs over 17.1 innings.

— Granted, Vogelsong was basically the same pitcher over his first three September starts in 2012. Actually, he was worse (20 hits, 16 ER and six walks over 11.2 innings). Then he allowed just three runs (one earned) over his last three regular season starts before becoming the team’s most valuable postseason pitcher. So this isn’t exactly a call to toss Vogelsong aside in favor of Tim Lincecum. Consider it more of a pessimist’s warning that older pitchers can’t always be trusted … just like younger pitchers!

— This is probably the appropriate time (if such a time exists) to show you these photos of Juan Gutierrez rubbing up the ball(s). Good night!

Juan Gutierrez junk ball

Juan Gutierrez junk baller

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