Yes, that was ugly. But it almost wasn’t! The Giants getting swept by the Dodgers is always incredibly unpleasant, but for some reason this one was a little easier to swallow. Obviously, I am not going to come out and say something outrageous about how the Giants are exactly where they want to be right now, but, for a few innings there, they were close. So Puig stayed hot and Kershaw did exactly what he always does. The rest of the Dodgers played horribly, and the Giants almost made two amazing comebacks on the road. This series stings, especially after the fiasco against the Marlins, but the losses came down to bad luck as much as bad baseball.
The first game of the series was a perfect example of why the Dodgers really got away with one. Bumgarner pitched what looked like his best game of the season, and only started to lose it after Bochy kept him in too long. The total depletion of the Giants roster continued, with Arias leaving the game with a non-specific hamstring issue. The bullpen couldn’t keep things going for Bumgarner; Kontos once again looked totally incompetent. The bright side of all of this? Other than Puig’s three, the entire Dodgers lineup got managed to get two hits in the entire game. Hyun-jin Ryu allowed twelve baserunners and pitched really quite poorly, only staying in and limiting the Giants to one run because an injured and slumping Brandon Crawford (who was filling in at short after Arias’ injury) failed to turn two bases-loaded situations into runs. There were a total of ten runners left on by the Giants, a sign of a team in a slump, but also a sign that the team the Giants were playing isn’t very good.
Mark J. Terrill
The second reason the Dodgers are terrible? They made Mike Kickham look like a decent replacement for Chad Gaudin. Kickam wasn’t great, but he looked a lot better than he had in Oakland and showed some serious poise after making some ugly mistakes, including that home run that almost wasn’t. Stephen Fife looked totally mediocre against the Giants’ frosty bats, but kept the game relatively in control. The Dodgers’ bullpen was weak, but the Giants failed to complete the comeback thanks to a Scutaro flyout that refused to go the extra foot past Matt Kemp’s glove.
Lincecum managed to put in some pretty good work in his game against the Dodgers, but once again I took this as a sign of LA’s overall suckiness as a team than anything Lincecum was doing particularly well. Kershaw dealt once again, however, and the Giants only managed two runs. This game felt hopeless not only because Kershaw was on the mound, but because the Giants are unable to hold any kind of lead. Even if Lincecum had the best outing of his career, the bullpen isn’t really capable of functioning in its one capacity. Any lead the Giants have now, a rare sight in an of itself, is tenuous at best.
Six losses (and one strange win) would seem like a good enough reason to hit the panic button. The Giants are in a slump, plain and simple. The rotation is finally pulling together, and the Giants are not losing games because of bad starts. The bullpen will improve, with time, as will the hitting. So many of the key producers in the lineup have gone cold that it is a wonder the Giants managed to mount any kind of comeback. Pence, Sandoval, Crawford and Scutaro have all been struggling, and the Giants are hard-pressed to make up for that. All that said, the Dodgers are not a good team. I normally try to put this kind of thinking aside, as saying it after a sweep feels unrealistic, but those three games are all exemplary of how the Dodgers’ big-money scheme has failed. One hot-hitting outfielder with a weird name isn’t going to change that.