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The game started out fairly routinely with only Yasiel Puig, Chris Heisey, and Justin Turner managing to get on base off of the always tough, but overtly overrated Madison Bumgarner. Early on, it was the Yasiel Puig show with the all star Right Fielder hitting a single in the top of the first, and making two stellar defensive plays in right field. One spectacular diving catch to rob noted Dodger killer, Buster Posey of a hit, and another, less spectacular grab to rob #5 hitter, Justin Maxwell (!) of a single.
Defense is good! Who knew.
After retiring the first 6 batters of the game, Kershaw ran into trouble in the 3rd inning with Joaquin Arias breaking up the no-hitter because, why not? After Brandon Crawford drew a walk, battling back from an 0-2 count, Madison Bumgarner executed a perfect bunt that led to all sorts of frustration. With runners at 2nd and 3rd, Nori Aoki hit a sharp grounder to the hole, and with a play at home, Jimmy Rollins opted to throw to 1st for the sure out. Brandon Crawford decided that it would be a good idea to test Justin Turner’s arm (good idea!) He threw behind Juan Uribe and a sure out was turned into a gift.
This entire season has felt like early career Clayton Kershaw, lots of pitches, mostly good pitching, AWFUL Dodger defense. The frustration seemed to boil over when Clayton Kershaw threw ball 3 in the dirt to Brandon Belt, he audibly screamed and caught Ellis’ throw with his bare hand.
It’s important to remember in times like these that his BABIP is unbelievably high, and the percent batters he’s left on base is 13% less than his career. These numbers will even out because his track record dictates it will at some point, but when the standard is perfection, watching Clayton Kershaw be slightly off is wholly frustrating, but he’s obviously earned more than a 4 start leash to start judging him off of results that aren’t totally his fault.
The things TOO worry about are A.J. Ellis at the plate this season, he doesn’t seem at all suited to warrant a 50-50, or even a 60-40 split of playing time at this point, hope i’m wrong but getting old sucks!
It wasn’t until the top of the 5th where the Dodgers got a baserunner to 2b, Juan Uribe singled and was moved over on an Ellis swinging bunt. He was subsequently stranded.
Regardless, games like this are the absolute worst, where the team doesn’t put the best product on the field with it’s ace on the mound facing the other team’s ace.
The 6th inning brought optimism with Yasiel Puig drawing a walk (directly following a 400 foot out by Justin Turner). After a Howie Kendrick lineout (second one of the game), Scott Van Slyke hit the rare “line drive at AT&T park by the away team that doesn’t find a glove”. Chris Heisey came up with men on first and second and promptly grounded out to Joaquin Arias. The team, it is frustrating.
But only frustrating when they don’t score. After an A.J. Ellis bloopish single at the plate, man of the people, Alex Guerrero continues to beg for a start from Don Mattingly, hitting an absolute monster of a dinger off of Madison Bumgarner. This is the moment he delivered!
I choose not to think about the fact that Juan Uribe clearly should have been on base because of a liner that was caught by Matt Duffy, but fighting back against Bumgarner isn’t something to complain all that much about. At some point Alex Guerrero has to get in the starting lineup, even if it’s as the super sub that Justin Turner was last year. After a Justin Turner error, Yasiel Puig also hit a looong fly ball to right field that would ultimately be caught. AT&T park continues to be the worst.
The bottom of the 7th rolled around, and he wasn’t exactly dominant, allowing some pretty hard contact to Buster Posey and Justin Maxwell. After walking Brandon Belt, and Joe Panik (the ump was very adamant about not giving him the outside corner), Don Mattingly signaled for Paco Rodriguez for face grit demon, Brandon Crawford.
It, ultimately paid off, after Crawford made things way more difficult than they had to be.
After a quiet 8th inning, the Dodgers mounted a 2 out rally in the ninth inning with Andre Ethier hitting a single up the gut and Jimmy Rollins drawing a walk. Tactically, Don Mattingly put Adrian Gonzalez in a position to drive in the go ahead run, to no avail. He grounded out to Brandon Crawford.
Then the bottom of the 9th happened. Chris Hatcher was on the mound, allowed a hard hit ball by Buster Posey, and after a HBP to Justin Maxwell that knocked AJ Ellis out of the game, Don Mattingly signaled for J.P. Howell, who is probably the weakest link in an otherwise good bullpen. Howell allowed, like so many times this season, a hit to a left handed batter, but the Giants third base coach appeared to interfere with Gregor Blanco rounding 3rd base. He was inexplicably allowed to stay at third base. Mattingly then employed the 6 man infield to a division opponent. Sound familiar? Yeah, Joe Panik then went up and hit a deep flyball to center field where Joc Pederson had absolutely no chance of throwing winning run out.
The game was so frustrating, J.P. Howell was overrated by half a season last year, the blown calls against the team, Kershaw not being as lockdown as last season. This game is everything that the Giants stand for, papercuts, annoying short guys scoring a bunch of runs. There will be these types of games, but hell the Dodgers have a division lead. But letting games that should otherwise be winnable pass them by is surely annoying.