It’s getting harder and harder to find bad omens. When the Giants win a 9-8 game at Coors Field where they only give up 3 runs of a 4-run lead, and the Dodgers lose a Clayton Kershaw start 1-0, ideas like “torture” and a high-altitude “house of horrors” seem a little silly.
The Giants now hold a 6-game lead in the National League West. They hold a 6-game lead in the loss column too, which should mess with my dad’s head a bit. Every time we’ve talked Giants over the past couple weeks and their lead over the Dodgers comes up, he’d drop a “but they’re (blank) games ahead in the loss column” on me, as if he was teaching me a little lesson about pennant races. (He probably felt the need to do that because my Joaquin Arias forecast was so far off.)
Now the loss column and the win column are in alignment, and the Giants’ magic number (Why are people so afraid of magic number talk? Bring it on! More, I say! Let magic number talk fill the air like powdered sugar at a Cinnabon!) is 15.
The divisional lead is the important thing, and the Giants’ sloppiness — while widespread on Tuesday night — didn’t come back to haunt them. The Dodgers, meanwhile, gave up an unearned run in the 7th as a throwing error from Hanley Ramirez allowed the leadoff man to reach. That man, Paul Goldschmidt, would score on a Miguel Montero double two batters later. Montero would later be thrown out trying to tag up on a fly ball to Matt Kemp, but that wouldn’t come back to haunt the D-Backs … or the Giants.
It didn’t matter that Madison Bumgarner gave up hit after hit, or that Pablo Sandoval looked like Glenallen Hill on defense. The Giants won a game in Denver that was getting very close to the “This is not good, folks” zone, and the Dodgers played a game that inspired this passage on MLB.com (since corrected):
At times Tuesday, it appeared Clayton Kershaw would single-handedly lift the Dodgers out of their recent struggles.
The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner cruised through the D-backs’ lineup, facing little resistance along the way.
The only problem for the right-hander, however, was the Los Angeles offense and defense proved too heavy to carry on his back.
Tough luck for the ambidextrous Dodgers starting pitcher. Maybe he can turn around and pitch again tomorrow.
— I almost started a pilates regimen until watching Aubrey Huff this season. His at-bats aren’t half-bad lately, though. He needs a ghostrunner on the bases and a segway to get him back to the dugout, but his at-bats don’t look half-bad.
— The Giants’ record at home is 40-31.
— The Giants’ record on the road is 40-31.
— Angel Pagan tied the franchise record for triples in a season with 12, and it’d be shocking if he didn’t break that record this season.
— George Kontos, Jose Mijares and Guillermo Mota, combined: 2.2 IP, 8 K.
— Santiago Casilla came in and limited the damage after Jeremy Affeldt gave up an infield single and a base hit to center. Casilla did a great job to get two ground balls, as well as to induce Wilin Rosario to chase a pitch off the outside corner and low that led to a 4-6-3 double play that wasn’t easy and shouldn’t be easily forgotten.
— Sergio Romo gave up a home run, but it was at Coors Field and it didn’t end up meaning anything besides a little extra work for Javier Lopez (save No. 7). The guy who went deep off Romo, Tyler Colvin, has hit 17 of his 18 home runs against right-handed pitchers and had an OPS of 1.038 at home going into that at-bat. It wasn’t like Romo gave up a homer to Ryan Theriot (which would be impossible, and not just because they’re on the same team).
— In other words, Romo absolutely has it in him to close games (as he has quite often lately). However, Bruce Bochy may not leave him in against guys like Colvin with a 1-run lead.
— The last time Bumgarner hit a home run, he wasn’t worried about Brandon Belt. After that game (which the Giants won 6-3 over the Astros back on June 12), Bumgarner was more interested in making fun of Barry Zito.
But Belt had been getting a lot of grief from his teammates and coaches before that game, Hensley Meulens specifically, about his homerless season up to that point. Belt hit his first of 2012 five innings after Bumgarner hit the first of his career (and there will be plenty more, for both players). When Ryan Leong asked him if Bumgarner’s home run inspired him, here is what he said.
“It inspired me a lot. It kind of made me mad, a little bit, that he beat me to it.”
— Here’s what Belt — who also had a double and 4 RBIs — said tonight in the postgame interview with Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow:
“Me personally, I don’t like to be outdone by Madison Bumgarner. So every time he hits homer I gotta do the same.”
— Earlier today I wrote about Brandon Belt and his place among San Francisco Giants first basemen, a post that went live shortly after Tuesday night’s game started. In that post, I wrote that Belt had only one home run on the road. That number has doubled.
— MVPosey Watch: Buster went 2-for-3 with 2 walks, pushing his slash to .332/.408/.541. According to WAR (both Baseball Reference and Fangraphs), Posey was the fifth-best player in the National League going into Tuesday night. That might not change by tomorrow, but Posey’s case for the ultimate National League hardware keeps getting stronger all the same.