Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Series Thread (Games 157-159): Sept 28-30 vs. Padres

This is Audrey Hepburn's first appearance on Sons of Steve Garvey.

Tue 28: Buehler vs. Darvish
Wed 29: Scherzer vs. TBD
Thu 30: Gonsolin vs. TBD

San Diego is officially eliminated from the 2021 MLB Postseason, on the heels of the Cardinals' impressive 16-game win streak. But not all the drama has evaporated: the Padres could play a huge role in shaping how the NL West race ends up, starting with three against the Dodgers before traveling to San Francisco for three against the Giants.

The Padres, however, don't like the Dodgers much, as evidenced from last year's NLDS meeting. So despite the two TBDs in starting pitchers this series, I expect them to bring their A-game against us. Meanwhile, the Giants will be feasting on the woeful Diamondbacks as they savor their two-game lead over us (with six to go).

I think winning the NL West is an impossibility. But hey, I've been wrong before. I'm just hoping for a good showing from Walker Buehler (who has been shaky of late), Max Scherzer (who was hittable in his last appearance), and Tony Gonsolin (enough said).

UPDATE 9/29: Buehler was indeed great. 7 IP, 5 Ks, 2 BB, 3 H, 0 ER. Way to go, Walker!

UPDATE 9/30: WHAT! A! VICTORY! 1+4 indeed. Wow.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Series Thread (Games 154-146): Sept 24-26 @ Diamondbacks

Fri 9.24 6.40p: Gonsolin vs. Castellanos
Sat 9.25 5.10p: Kershaw vs. Gallen
Sun 9.26 1.10p: Urias vs. H Mejia

Nine games left, one game back. And we visit the Snakes, the worst team in the National League, while the Giants head to Colorado (where the Rockies, who dropped two with us last series, have usually been good at home).

The good news for this series: we face three starters with ERAs all over 4.00, and none of which have more than two wins this year.

The bad news: our starters have been uncharacteristically pedestrian of late, including consecutive shaky starts from normally solid Walker Buehler; five runs scored off of our ace Max Scherzer; and a concerning dip in fastball velocity from 18-game winner Julio Urias, who is well over his season-high innings count.

My expectation is that we don't make up ground this weekend. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Series Thread (Games 151-153): Sept 21-23 @ Rockies

Tue 9/21 5.40p: Urías vs. Senzatela
Wed 9/22 5.40p: Buehler vs. Márquez
Thu 9/23 12n: Scherzer vs. Freeland

Twelve games left. One game back. For us, it will come down to whether we can take care of business against weaker teams, instead of playing down to their level (as are oft to do), before ending the season hosting the Brewers (who hopefully will have nothing for which to play by then, with their 11.5-game lead in the NL Central). For the Giants, it comes down to whether they can produce against the Padres, whom they see six of their final 12 games (SF is 7-6 in the head-to-head matchup).

In this series with Colorado: Senzatela is 1-2 against the Dodgers this year, but dominated us for seven scoreless innings in the win on Aug 29; Marquez is 1-0 against us but that win was back on April 1; and Freeland is 1-2 against the Dodgers but also picked up a win recently on August 27.

Again, looking at Fangraphs and Fivethirtyeight, it's basically a 50-50 tossup despite the fact that we start the final push one game behind. This is nail-biter time.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Series Thread (Games 148-150): Sept 17-19 @ Reds

Fri 9/17 4p: Buehler vs. L Castillo
Sat 9/18 11a: Scherzer vs. S Gray
Sun 9/19 10a: Kershaw vs. Miley

It's down to a one-game deficit. And both Fangraphs playoff odds, and Fivethirtyeight playoff odds, have the Dodgers now with a very slight edge to win the NL West.

I'm not believing it, though. Sure, the offense heated up quite a bit over that last 6-0 homestand (in which even Cody Bellinger and Gavin Lux got hits!). And Tony Gonsolin came back with a strong starting performance, earning a win. And Julio Urias notched his 17th and 18th wins.

But there's still a lot of baseball to be played. So while we visit Cincinnati (one game out of the second wild card spot), the Giants host the Braves (three games up in the NL East). Playoff implications abound for all four teams, and this time, the Dodgers play their game earlier in the day. Should be a fun weekend of scoreboard watching (and chili eating)!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Series Thread (Games 145-147): Sept 13-15 vs. Diamondbacks

Mon 9/13: Kershaw vs. Gallen
Tue 9/14: Gonsolin vs. Weaver
Wed 9/15: Urias vs. TBD

Congratulations, Max Scherzer!

Right on the heels of Scherzer's 3,000-K milestone (and third immaculate inning!), another former Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw, kicks off this series with the Snakes. Kershaw has not pitched since July 3 (@ Washington, 4.0 IP ND), and is only 347 Ks short of the 3,000-K milestone himself. I want to celebrate Clayton's return to the mound, but I'm guessing he is much more focused on helping the team claw back ground against the Giants, still 2.5 games ahead after sweeping the Cubs this weekend (and matching our sweep of the Padres). FanGraphs' Playoff Odds gives us a 44% chance of winning the division, starting this series.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Series Thread (Games 142-144): Sept 10-12 vs. Padres

Fri 7p Urias vs. Musgrove
Sat 6p Buehler vs. Paddack
Sun 1p Scherzer vs. Snell

Remember when we were playing for first place back in San Francisco? Yeah, it seems like an eternity ago. Since then, we left Birdshit Park down one game, then split with the Cardinals (while the Giants swept the hapless Rockies), so now we're 2.5 GB and barely any time left on the clock. With AJ Pollock injured, Cody Bellinger has been thrust back into the starting lineup...and since gone 0-for-13 when asked to step up (Cody is 0-for-19 in September, across seven games. Fangraphs finally has the Giants favored to win the NL West this season. And now we're facing the Padres who are hungry for a Wild Card berth (against us, to boot), while the Giants feast on the defeated Cubs.

We are probably fucked. But hey, I guess I'll watch anyway.

Monday, September 06, 2021

Series Thread (Games 138-141): Sept 6-9 @ Cardinals

Mon Sep 6 1p: Scherzer vs. Mikolas
Tue Sep 7 4.45p: TBD vs. Happ
Wed Sep 8 4.45p: TBD vs. Wainwright
Thu Sep 9 10.15a: TBD vs. Kim

Albrt Pujols returns to St. Louis, but we've got more pressing things to which to attend, after dropping the rubber match to the Giants and dropping back ou tof first place by a game. I'm posting this late (after Monday's win), in which Scherzer dominated but the Giants won as well, so we just kept pace (one back). And we don't have a starting pitcher named for the rest of this series. Hoo boy. I don't know if House of Cards refers to Busch Stadium, or our precarious attempt to summit the NL West.

Friday, September 03, 2021

Series Thread (Games 135-137): Sept 3-5 @ Giants

Fri Sep 3 6.45p: Price vs. TBD
Sat Sep 4 6p: Urias vs. TBD
Sun Sep 5 4p: Buehler vs. TBD

After 126 days, we've finally made this a race again. We hadn't tasted first place since April 28. And we were stalled at five games back on August 12. But here we are, back in first place in the NL West following a sweep of the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves, having ascended back to the top thanks to a 16-3 record over the last 19 games taking us back to that August 12 nadir.

And the Giants aren't going away; they took the fourth game of the series to avert the sweep to the Brewers, and make it all tied up at the top, going into this head-to-head series, where we won't have Mad Max Scherzer. Will Mookie Betts, fresh off a four-K night on Wednesday, rise to the occasion yet again?