So, how are we doing today? Still reeling from last night, when the San Francisco Giants self-destructed and seemingly handed the division title to that hated rival in Los Angeles? Don’t want to talk about it? Yeah, me either. But we should—it’s the healthy thing to do.
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I just don’t where to begin, other than to say that everyone appears to share in the blame. But let’s start with the biggest group involved in the game: the hitters.
It seems wrong to harsh on any offense that struggles against Clayton Kershaw, but this era’s best pitcher only tossed six innings. The Giants’ batters thus had three innings to take advantage of the Dodgers’ middle relief. Which they didn’t do. After scoring a run on three hits against Kershaw, they went nine up and nine down against the Dodgers bullpen.
The offense’s futility increased the likelihood that the bullpen would be involved at the end of the game. (Let’s all sigh together, shall we?) Four pitchers and Bruce Bochy’s maneuvering couldn’t stop the Dodgers from predictably overcoming the 1-0 deficit to win the game in walk-off fashion.
Of course, all that late-inning maneuvering could have been avoided had Bochy not pulled a dominant Madison Bumgarner from the game. Bochy would not have felt compelled to do sor= had MadBum not ridiculously lost his cool and start yelling at Yasiel Puig. I’m not in the business of defending Dodgers players, but Puig didn’t do anything. Even if he had, it would be on Bumgarner to not react. But that’s moot, because Puig didn’t do anything. Bumgarner apparently imagined some sort of disrespect from Puig, reacted to this figment of his imagination, and effectively pulled himself out of the game.
Up to that point, he had been pitching like the 2014 World Series hero. The Giants needed two more innings out of him, but instead he lost his composure and let the team down.
Then there was Hunter Pence on the final play of the game. He had to run a long way to track down Adrian Gonzalez’s shot to the warning track in right-centerfield, but he should have made the catch. Failing to do so allowed the winning run to score. Then again, had he made the catch, Corey Seager would have tagged from second base and been on third base with one out. Chances are that the Dodgers still score that run, but at least they would have had a chance to get out of the jam.
Now the Giants find themselves in a much bigger jam, a game behind the New York Mets and tied with St. Louis for the second wild card spot—while showing no signs of being able to stop their freefall.