I don’t care that it’s only June. I don’t care that we have over half the season to play, or that the Giants and the Dodgers have 14 more games against each other this season. And I know that a large game differential can be made up in a month (see Giants vs Padres circa 2010). What I do care about is that the Giants have shut the Dodgers out twice in a row bringing them within one game of first place; it doesn’t matter what month it is.
I also don’t care that Kershaw is a brilliant pitcher; he is a Cy Young pitcher and earned himself the Triple Crown of pitching last year. He is a great pitcher, no one is going to quibble over that. This year isn’t quite up to the standard he set last year, but he still has a sub-3.00 ERA, a winning record, and nearly a K per inning pitched. But all that matters this year is that he is 0-2 against the Giants and Ryan Vogelsong.
Vogelsong continues to be one of the best feel good, come back stories in baseball. He is well on his way to proving that last year was no fluke. I have to admit, coming into the year, I wasn’t ready to put my full confidence in him, but he has proved me, and all the other skeptics, very wrong. And he’s done it quite admirably, with a 2.34 ERA with a 7-3 record and a scary intensity that is well documented. He has turned that intensity up when facing Giants killer, Clayton Kershaw, defeating him in two matchups so far this year.
There are many things that contributed to last night’s win, not the least of which was Vogelsong’s pristine performance and Cabrera’s solo shot. But I think two plays that had an equally important role happened out on the bases. In the bottom of the fourth, Pagan stole second. That set him up to score on Pablo’s single, despite Tim Flannery’s best efforts. That gave the Giants an insurance run, taking much pressure off Vogelsong.
Following that, in the top of the 5th, Dee Gordon decided to show his own speed, but got cut down at second by Posey. That ended the inning and got Vogelsong out of a mini jam getting the largest speed threat the Dodgers have off the base paths. I think that without these two plays, it is possible that the game has a different outcome.
Given two shutouts against the Dodgers, would you have ever guessed that one of those games would be won by Barry Zito and the other lost by Clayton Kershaw?
Cabrera is leading the majors in hits and multi-hit games. Why is he fourth in All-Star balloting? Get out there and vote!