For the folks counting at home, that’s now a 10.5-game NL West lead for the Los Angeles Dodgers (over the second-place Padres) and a 13.5 game cushion over the Giants.
On Thursday night, the Dodgers took home a 9-6 win in a back-and-forth affair with San Francisco, a team that continues to prove last year’s 107-win season was a total fluke.
The Giants are closer to sellers than buyers with the trade deadline approaching. Though their overall statistics as a team (home runs, OPS, ERA) are solid, their defense has been atrocious (27th-ranked fielding percentage and the fourth-most errors in MLB) and their pitching continues to allow batters to put the ball in play (.251 opponents’ average, 22nd in MLB).
All of that was on display Thursday night, as the Dodgers scored nine runs on 10 hits and four walks while the Giants made two errors, one of which certainly played a role in deciding the contest.
Yup, Luis Gonzalez in right field probably isn’t the answer. This just further goes to show the Giants’ disruptive 2021 campaign was the result of tremendous luck and unforeseen rebounds from guys like Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria — all of whom are past their prime and are right back to showing their true colors as injury-prone players (well, just Belt and Longoria for that label).
The Dodgers extended their division lead over the Giants on Thursday night
That egregious misplay by Gonzalez allowed the Dodgers to score three runs when it should’ve been the final out of the inning. The Dodgers ended up winning by three.
But it wasn’t as easy as it appeared. San Fran came back to tie the game at 5-5 thanks to a grand slam off the bat of former Dodger Darin Ruf. They actually took the lead in the top of the eighth, too. But a game-tying RBI triple from Trayce Thompson and then this three-run blast off the bat of Mookie Betts ended up being the difference.
It still wasn’t over after that, though. The Giants were determined to make things interesting against closer Craig Kimbrel. Luckily, the right-hander had the luxury of Betts patrolling right field.
With a runner on and the scorching hot Joc Pederson at the plate, Betts ended the game on this diving catch. Had it been a hit, the Giants would’ve brought the tying run to the plate in Longoria, who homered earlier in the evening.
Betts is your hero. Kimbrel is off the hook. And the Giants lose more ground in the NL West. Couldn’t have drawn it up any better.
Looking back on last year, please tell us how the Giants went from having the ninth-fewest errors, seventh-best fielding percentage, second-best ERA, second-best WHIP, seventh-best batting average and fourth-best OPS to this. Exactly. Fluke.