What a way to greet the Dodgers on their first trip to SF this year. And who would have guessed that this would have been accomplished with Cain and Bumgarner in the dugout, patiently waiting their turn. Even before this series started, it seemed to me that the Giants were a better team than the Dodgers. (Note to self; record thoughts like this before they are mere hindsight.) In the last 30 games, the Giants have been a better team than the Dodgers, consistently gaining ground. On the chart below, that maps the winning %s of both teams, you can see the records slowly merging. The Dodgers have had two other major skids in that time. Whether or not the Giants are better than the Dodgers + Kemp is up for debate; but he will be on the DL for at least another 2 weeks, probably more. And keep in mind that the Giants haven’t been without their own injuries this year. We lost Pablo for quite a bit, Vogelsong started on the DL, Theriot has been a surprisingly impactful player since he came back from his injury, and Wilson is out for the season. As Zito said, the Dodgers took advantage when the Giants were hurting, and now the Giants have to pay back the favor.
Lately, Zito has been Zitoing. After such a strong start to the season, in his three appearances prior to Monday he was 0-3 and had given up 17 earned runs in 14.1 innings pitched, raising his ERA nearly 1.5 points. It was good to see him have another strong outing on Monday, particularly against the Blew Crew. Let’s be real, no one really expects Zito to finish the year 16-8 with a 2.84 ERA. That ship sailed long ago; or rather it sank under the weight of that contract. But so far this year, Zito is 4-1 against the NL West. The Giants play the majority of their games against those 4 teams, if Zito can always give them a chance to win against the division, he’ll be an impactful part of the team.
At the risk of sounding like a skeptic (which I am), I’m not going to say Timmy is back. On April 28th, he threw 8 innings giving up only one unearned run. The Giants lost the next 9 games Lincecum started. Frankly, he looked better on April 28th than he did yesterday. Yes, I know he pitched fairly well in Oakland and now has 12 consecutive scoreless innings, but his problem all year has been maintaining that focus for a whole game. So I’m not going to count the Oakland game since he wasn’t good for the whole time.
But I’m also not going to say that this was a huge step in the right direction for Lincecum. Admittedly, that wasn’t exactly a top notch lineup that Mattingly threw our way yesterday, but after 9 straight losses and a no decision, a solid win against the franchise rivals could do a world of wonder for him mentally. Daniel Brown of the SJ Mercury recently wrote an article in which he got Bengie Molina’s opinions on the struggling ace. Having caught both of his Cy Young seasons, Molina was of the opinion that it was a mental issue. Something like an important win against the Dodgers, putting the perfect capstone on a shutout sweep, could be just what Lincecum needs to “regain his swagger”.
As if going 30 innings without scoring, 125 trips to the plate without a run (almost 14 times through the lineup), stranding 23 runners on the bases, and going 0-19 with RISP wasn’t enough…the Dodger’s equipment truck broke down on the way out of SF. Something tells me that they aren’t looking forward to their next trip up north.
Anyone else going to follow the Dodgers game tonight to see how far they can extend their scoreless inning streak?