Giants-Dodgers pennant race is really on now

July 29, 2012, 1:21 am
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Sometimes theres no reason to dress up a beating. Sometimes theres really nothing much to say.

Thus it was with a spirit of blindest optimism that Bruce Bochy entered the interview room Saturday and heard no questions.

I agree, he said. Not much to say.

Then someone had to ruin his mood and ask something. Like any answer matters when you get 10-loved by the Dodgers in front of the home customers.

RECAP: Baggs' Instant Replay -- Dodgers 10, Giants 0

Of course, they probably had this coming after shutting the Dodgers out for an entire home stand a month ago. That isnt supposed to happen in big-kids ball, either.

But now it is clear that we have a chance for the pennant race we would all pay big cash to see -- the one with no participation medal. Just death or glory. As it should be.

Returning to the moment, though, those Dodgers were running on fumes. These are running on a rebuilt engine. Matt Kemp is back. So is Mark Ellis, and Hanley Ramirez has been rescued from the arsonists flames in Miami. And they may not be done trading futures for presents, either.

In other words, the race that has been on and off is on again. And it helps the Dodgers that they are cresting again as the Giants are flattening out.

They are without Pablo Sandoval, disabled after his hamstring decided to roll up his leg like one of those old cartoon window shades. They just picked up Marco Scutaro to take his spot and become the third baseman until such time as he can become the utility fill-in. There are three days . . . well, less than that, even . . . until the trade deadline. The Giants essential depth issues are rising yet again.

And they have 62 games to go. In other words, the race really is on now.

As with all trams not already dead, buried and issuing up its belongings to the highest bidder, the Giants are going to have these patches of rancidity. Chad Billingsley, who spent most of the season trying to relocate his essential Billingsley-tude, smothered the Giants on four hits, driving their at-bats into ground balls and limiting their few scoring chances leadoff doubles by Buster Posey and Angel Pagan, and a bases-loaded situation in the ninth to exactly what they got in their last weekend here.


And now the intermittent euphoria of late June and early July has settled again, because that is the nature of most pennant races. Two teams who need full participation to play well have exchanged injuries, and the Dodgers and Giants of a month ago have swapped positions.

In other words, even if Clayton Kershaw stomps on Ryan Vogelsong as he has Tim Lincecum in the past and the Dodgers sweep the Giants, all that will do is tell the audience what it already suspected. That these two teams will most likely be unable to separate from each other until the final week, perhaps even the final series.

Three games in Los Angeles, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 1, 2 and 3. And the only way it could be grander is if the two wild card spots had already been nailed down by, say, Pittsburgh and Atlanta. That way, there would be no consolation prize, no fallback position, no side door out of ignominy. If we get what we want (as opposed to what we deserve), the series would be for death or glory, the way the creator intended.

I mean, if the creator is on the job the way he or she should be. The creator isnt a wild card fan, you see. Likes expanded replay, but not the wild card.