Giants' loss a crusher, but not how you think


Giants' loss a crusher, but not how you think

Crushing loss? Not really. Hey, Clayton Kershaw was on the bump. You didn't really think the Giants had a prayer against him, did you? He's the Dodgers' magnifying glass to the Giants' pill bug, and the sun is forever blazing. Smell that fresh insect smoke.
That the Pirates beat the Diamondbacks makes Tuesday's loss in L.A. sting a little more, sure, but the division title remains in sight. Beat the Dodgers twice, get another win from the Pirates in Arizona, and the National League West deficit is four games heading into the three-game series in Phoenix that starts Friday.Sweep that bad boy and you're one back with three to play. Take your chances.

Is it likely? Sure. And you're likely to trip over a fat black garbage bag of unmarked 100 bills with nobody in sight. It's not impossible, though. The NL wild card bid? Knock it off. The Giants are actually closer in that race than they are in the division duel, but the NL West title is a slightly more realistic endeavor; two teams are up on the champs in the wild card race, and the champs don't play them at all. Those three games against the Snakes are precious.So Tuesday's loss wasn't an out-and-out killer. A wasted opportunity given Arizona's loss, for sure. Another wasted gem by Tim Lincecum, no question. A pair of eye-gouging at-bats by Pablo Sandoval and Carlos Beltran in the eighth, absolutely.(Carlos, buddy, please swing the bat next time. At least once. You make a fine trophy, but we like you as a hitter better.)The loss, however, did come with a side order of angst. At the risk of romanticizing the past, it was the type of game in which, circa 2010, you just knew someone was going to come up big late in the evening.What's worse is that it probably would have been Juan Uribe. Who now, of course, is a Dodger. And a pretty crappy one, at that.That's what it's come to. We're pining for a crappy Dodger. And loss be damned, that's about as crushing as it gets.

Giants lineup: Three lefties out against Kershaw


Giants lineup: Three lefties out against Kershaw

With Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers Sunday, Bruce Bochy is resting three left-handed bats...

San Francisco Giants:
1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
2. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
3. Buster Posey (R) 1B
4. Hunter Pence (R) RF
5. Nick Hundley (R) C
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
8. Mac Williamson (R) LF
9. Chris Stratton (R) RHP

Los Angeles Dodgers:
1. Chris Taylor (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Cody Bellinger (L) 1B
4. Curtis Granderson (L) RF
5. Logan Forsythe (R) 3B
6. Chase Utley (L) 2B
7. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
8. Joc Pederson (L) LF
9. Clayton Kershaw (L) LHP

Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers


Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — A 2-1 victory Saturday night at Dodger Stadium all but assured that the Giants will not lose 100 games. They still could, sure, because any sort of downslide is possible in this 2017 season, but they would really have to finish with some sort of ugly stretch. 

Still, it’s been a long season, so it was no surprise when Madison Bumgarner admitted to some sleepless nights since Opening Day. As for Saturday night …

“It’s going to be much easier to go to sleep tonight, because we won,” Bumgarner said.

The big lefty did the heavy lifting, throwing 7 2/3 dominant innings and offering one more reminder that his shoulder is 100 percent fine after a season-halting dirt bike accident. Bumgarner topped out at 93.5 mph, and even though Bruce Bochy thought Dodger Stadium might have had a hot gun on this night, the swings told the story of a good fastball. Bumgarner said this was as good as he has felt in a while. 

“He did look strong,” Bochy said. “He did have really good stuff tonight. It was really crisp.”

It was the kind of night that reminds you that, for all their issues, the Giants will start 2018 with a leg up on many others. They have Madison Bumgarner and you don’t, and that should lead to plenty of good over the course of 32 or 33 starts. 

“I think it’s good for the club to know, hey, he’s back,” Bochy said. “This is the kind of ball we can play.”

It was the brand Bochy appreciates: A strong start, a good bullpen, strong defense, and just enough offense. That’s how the Giants will win in 2018, if they are to do so, which bodes well for the man at the center of Saturday’s offense. The Giants plan to move Denard Span to left field and acquire a new center fielder, but they still lack depth in the organization, and Gorkys Hernandez has made it clear he would like to stick around. He had three hits — including two doubles — and a walk, scoring both Giants runs. 

After a slow start that almost got him released, Hernandez took off over the summer, providing a high average and sparkling defense at three spots. A left wrist tendon issue has slowed him in September, but he surprised the staff by being available for the final two weeks of games, and he said he’ll play through the end of the year before considering any rehab options 

“He certainly has made a statement,” Bochy said. “He’s one of our better athletes. He can play anywhere in the outfield, and what’s impressive is how he’s come on with the bat. A kid like this that plays defense the way he can, and shows he can do some things with the bat, he’s in the mix.”

Hernandez said he loves playing in San Francisco. He intends to spend his offseason getting healthy at his home in Scottsdale before competing for an outfield job. 

“Every time Bochy puts me in the lineup I’m trying to show everyone that I can be here and that I can be part of this team for a long time,” he said.