When we left off, Joaquin Arias was going 3-for-5 with 5 RBIs in Los Angeles. The Dodgers were already hurting after losing two close games to the San Francisco Giants, and Arias’ offensive outburst left Peter Guber with an even sourer expression than usual. The Dodgers had expected to soar past the Giants as effortlessly as a Greg Louganis half pike into the deepest, bluest waters found in Malibu, but Arias, the Master of Adding Insult to Dodger Fan Injury, made a painful sweep unbearable and caused Dodgers fans to boo.
So the Dodgers traded for a quarter billion dollars of sulky, KFC-in-the-clubhouse eating Sawx, all because Arias embarrassed a few obscenely rich people. Wait, that isn’t how it happened? Could’ve sworn what I just wrote was documented reality, reported on by all of the relevant beat writers, although I’ve had more than my fair share of children’s cough syrup this evening.
(Swig … swig … chugchugchug)
Ah, better. Finally, tonight is starting to make a little sense.
Not even the strongest Tussin can dull the ache in Matt Kemp’s jaw tonight, after making the unfortunate decision of trying to run through the center field wall at Coors Field. After watching this, did anybody else think about how, with the altitude, Kemp might’ve collided face-first at an even higher rate of speed than normal? Something tells me future generations are going to laugh at the materials we used to pad outfield walls back in the early 2000s. If Kemp pulled that stunt at Wrigley he wouldn’t have teeth.
The Dodgers had a good thing going after the trade was announced — for a couple days. Then they lost a chance at a sweep of the Marlins on Sunday, got drilled 10-0 in Josh Beckett’s Dodger debut on Monday, and Kemp runs into the wall at warp speed in the first inning on Tuesday.
“At least the Giants were losing to the Astros,” said every generic, stereotypical Dodgers fan I choose to imagine in my own mind.
The Giants were losing to the Astros, in a game where Matt Cain threw 287 pitches. Again, the children’s cough medicine might be affecting my short-term memory. There’s getting “Cained,” and there’s missing out on a called third strike by an inch and throwing the next pitch through Buster Posey’s legs. That never happens, even to Cain.
Then Brandon Belt came up against a lefty in the 9th, a chap named Dequam LaWesley Wright. Otherwise known as Wesley White. Things broke badly for Mr. White, as Belt hit a 20-hop single through the middle. Goodbye Mr. White, hello Mr. Wilton. Wilton Lopez threw a 91-mph get-it-in fastball against Arias, who promptly whacked it down the left field line.
“SMH f*&@#$% Arias,” tweeted/facebooked/texted those same stereotypical, generic Dodgers fans I made up.
Hector Sanchez came up two batters later, and since the Giants’ runs were scored on Angel Pagan’s solo homer and Arias’ double with Belt on first, the Giants were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position at the time (the Astros went 0-for-10 with RISP). Sanchez’s bat sounded like it lost the battle against Lopez’s splitter, but Sanchez hit a topspin lob into center to give the Giants the lead.
For the Belt-lovers out there who want Posey behind the plate as often as possible, take solace in this: Sanchez is now 8-for-18 as a pinch hitter in his career. Bruce Bochy will have a hard time giving up that option the rest of the way, especially with Eli Whiteside on the roster protecting the Giants in case Posey gets injured in extra innings or whatever.
Sergio Romo closed out this game as quickly as it turned badly for the Astros (and indirectly, the Dodgers). Chris Quick from Bay City Ball (BCB) brings up a good point about the manager who’s been dabbling in Bullpen By Committee (BBC):
Romo started the 9th inning by striking out Brandon Barnes on four pitches — all sliders, of course — and then Brian Bogusevic, the aforementioned lefty, came to the plate. I was certain that Bochy would pull Romo to get the platoon advantage. But, to his credit, Bochy stuck with Romo and was rewarded with a one pitch ground out to Marco Scutaro. Romo ended up needing only seven pitches to close the game. I have to imagine that Bochy was grinding his teeth and rocking back and forth in his seat, but credit is credit. Good job, Bruce.
The Giants’ last two wins ended with a 4-out save from Javier Lopez and a 3-out save from Romo. Just wait until we see an 11-out save from Guillermo Mota!
The Giants didn’t take advantage until Belt, Arias and Sanchez put together their 9th inning to remember, but Pagan was kind of in Nuclear Pagan mode again, where he looks like a $10 million per year guy and plays baseball like Deion Sanders in 1992.
Pagan’s diving catch kept the game scoreless in the 4th, and there was of course the HR, double and walk. But not to be forgotten: he saw 29 pitches in five plate appearances, the shortest appearance coming when he hit the third pitch of his third at-bat over the right field wall. Right now he’s the team’s second-best hitter, and the only guys who come close are Marco Scutaro and Belt.
After the Olympics I heard that Kerri Walsh needed a new teammate since Misty May is retiring from beach volleyball. Although Brandon Crawford might have the mousse-buoyed hair to pass for a woman if he shaved — at least among the Lasik surgery candidates among us — I’m pretty sure the Olympics have some sort of scientific gender screening these days. But if Walsh ever plays coed beach volleyball, Crawford wouldn’t be a bad partner. When Pablo Sandoval flipped that ball into the air down the left field line, the handsome one showed he can dig with the best of them.