Monday, June 04, 2012

Objects In Rear-View Mirror: How Do They Appear, Again?

From Steve Dilbeck's LAT blog over the weekend, guess who is lurking around the corner?

Ugh, the Dodgers have hit their first skid of the season at the same time the Giants are starting to play their best baseball. Talk about lousy timing.

The Dodgers have lost five consecutive games, enabling the Giants to cut a lead that was a season-high 7½ games down to four.

Things were getting a tad frustrating up in the Bay Area as the Giants started playing well, but with the Dodgers continuing to roll even without Matt Kemp, unable to put a dent in the National League West standings.

Now the Dodgers look a lot like a team playing with its B lineup, while the fans are starting to get just a little excited in the Halloween-colored land by the bay.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins already smells blood in the water, predicting that by the time Kemp returns, the Giants will have caught the Dodgers and “I'd venture to say if Tim Lincecum's starts become an uplift, instead of a drag, the Giants win the division with ease.”

There are nightmare scenarios, and then there are visions of the Giants dancing on the Dodgers’ grave.

Look, although the Dodgers are playing with much less than a full deck, the truth is that the Giants' little run here is also aberrant. The Giants have moved into their cream-puff part of the schedule,which allows anomalies like Barry Zito lasting into the ninth.* (The Giants get to feast once more on the Cubs before heading down to SD for three). And unlike the Dodgers, the Giants' injuries aren't lineup-shaking: Pablo Sandoval is going to have to be focusing on his hand a lot more, and not just the "Rosie Palm" part. We'll be back to full strength in a month.

So anyway, a three-game lead may be time to panic, indeed. We could very well end up in second place by the end of the week, if not sooner. But don't fret. We just need to tread water through June (we are 1-2 this month so far), and then the big guns (and possibly, one big gut) will be back.

Over the past ten years, almost two-thirds of the teams leading their divisions end up winning their divisions. And if "making the playoffs" is the benchmark, our league-leading record plus the advent of a second wild card team only increases our chances of playing in the post-season.

Note: (*) Yes, I know that it happened in Zito's first game this year as well. But prior to that, the last time Zito had hit the ninth inning was August 29, 2009.


Fred's Brim said...

Gotta keep grinding.

If we keep pitching well and play good defense, we'll be in good shape

Steve Sax said...

If we can just score more runs than our opponents in each game, we'll be in good shape

Steve Sax said...

If Woody had gone to the police, this would never have happened

Hideo Nomo said...

Woody did go to the police... report Pablo Sandoval.

Dusty Baker said...

We could have gotten away without if it hadn't been for those meddling kids.

Steve Sax said...

@FB, Nomo: come to think of it, Pablo Sandoval could be accused of grinding, as well.

Wicks said...

Where is the draft coverage? These HS kids are house hold names right!?

Fred's Brim said...

Giants can get bent

Dave said...

I was more than a little worried about the Jints' run until I read Jenkins's column Saturday. He's on the verge of senility* and as good a jinx as the cover of Sports Illustrated, so I'm a little more confident.

(*He used the first spring training game of 2010 to predict, in so many words, the Giants would go 162-0 and the Dodgers were doomed to go 0-162.)