Giants

Giants say goodbye to L.A.

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Giants say goodbye to L.A.

GIANTS (84-71) vs.
L.A. DODGERS (77-77)Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area
(AP) -- The San Francisco Giants haven't thrown in the towel on a making a return trip to the postseason. The defending World Series champions have the right pitcher scheduled to try and stay in the mix for at least one more day.Looking to win a career-best sixth consecutive start, Madison Bumgarner will take the mound for the Giants on Thursday night when they meet the Los Angeles Dodgers for the final time this season.After a one-run loss in Tuesday's series opener, San Francisco (84-71) got three hits and three RBIs from Justin Christian in Wednesday's 8-5 win.However, Arizona also won, reducing its magic number to win the NL West to two. With the Diamondbacks idle Thursday, the Giants would be eliminated from the division race if they lose to Arizona on Friday night at Chase Field.San Francisco is third in the wild-card race, two games behind St. Louis and 3 12 in back of Atlanta."We're in the mode right now where we got to win every game," Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong said. "The mood is try and win every night and see what happens."Bumgarner (12-12, 3.21 ERA) has put the Giants in a real good mood recently.He's surrendered just four earned runs over 34 2-3 innings during his five-start winning streak, which included a victory over the Dodgers on Sept. 11 in San Francisco. The left-hander gave up an unearned run over seven innings in Friday's 9-1 rout of Colorado."This kid is just getting better and better," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's been on a good roll ... He's got to feel good about how it's gone for him, especially with the rough start that he had."Bumgarner was 0-6 in his first eight starts before beating the Dodgers on May 19 in Los Angeles.While Los Angeles (77-77) dropped to 8-9 against San Francisco with Wednesday's loss, Matt Kemp recorded his fifth straight multihit game with a homer and three RBIs.With 35 homers, Kemp is tied with Atlanta's Dan Uggla for second in the NL, one behind St. Louis' Albert Pujols. Kemp is third in the NL with a .322 average, leads the league in RBIs (116) and runs (106), and has a slight chance to reach 200 hits for the first time.Kemp, who needs 16 hits over the final eight games, is hitting .322 (19 for 59) with three homers and nine RBIs in 17 games against the Giants.He's 3 for 11 with three strikeouts when facing Bumgarner.After setting a career high for wins his last time out, Hiroki Kuroda (12-16, 3.19) will try once more to avoid becoming the first Dodger to lose 17 games since Fernando Valenzuela in 1984.Kuroda gave up an earned run and five hits in six innings of Friday's 7-2 win over Pittsburgh.He had allowed eight runs over 10 2-3 innings in losses at Washington and San Francisco earlier this month.After defeating the Giants at Chavez Ravine in his 2011 debut, Kuroda improved to 1-2 with a 6.35 ERA in four career home starts against San Francisco.Pablo Sandoval is 6 for 14 with three doubles, a homer and three RBIs lifetime against Kuroda. The third baseman is hitting .378 (17 for 45) with three homers and seven RBIs in 15 games versus the Dodgers in 2011.

In Bay Area, bad teams get dismissed in most passive-aggressive way of all

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AP

In Bay Area, bad teams get dismissed in most passive-aggressive way of all

There is no reason for us to waste your time by selling you on the last week of the baseball season. Being in the playoffs, or on their edge, makes the first 24 weeks well worth the slog, as you all remember from 2014 and as Giants fans remember from last year.

But for those towns in which doom has already been applied – say, like Oakland and San Francisco, just to name two we can drive to – the baseball season died awhile ago. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge and Clayton Kershaw and Corey Kluber and the Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals – they are all a gray, indistinct blur that doesn’t touch us all that much.

As a result, all the notions in the middle of the decade that this is actually a baseball area turned out to be wrong again. What we are – what we have always been – is a great place for front-running.

Just like almost every other town in America.

There are few towns where this is untrue. St. Louis for the Cardinals, Green Bay for the Packers, Pittsburgh for the Steelers, Toronto for the Maple Leafs, Dallas for the Cowboys, Philadelphia for the Eagles, Los Angeles for the Lakers – they all maintain their audiences in good times and bad, both through hinders in seats and eyes on sets.

Here, though, bad teams get dismissed in the most passive-aggressive way of all. We stop attending, watching or talking about them and find other things to do with ourselves, which I would suggest is probably the healthier way to approach entertainment that doesn’t entertain. And because we are also incredibly provincial, we won’t pay attention to those people who are enjoying the week because in our collective world view, any party we’re not at is just people milling about.

But healthier isn’t always the same as viscerally better. Ignoring the Giants’ ferocious battle with Philadelphia for the first draft pick next year, and marveling at the invisibility of the A’s late-season winning just isn’t as much of a hoot when there are so many teams standing on their necks.

Anyway, there are six more days and then the playoffs begin, and they’ll be fascinating because pennant races always are. You'll all be missed.

 

Hundley still not ready to discuss future; Cain to start during final weekend

Hundley still not ready to discuss future; Cain to start during final weekend

PHOENIX — A few weeks ago, Nick Hundley said he preferred not to talk about his future until the end of the season. We’re close enough, so after hitting the go-ahead homer Monday night, Hundley was again asked about his 2018 plans. He smiled.

“How many have we got left? Five?” he said. “Ask me Sunday.”

It’s not just the media and fans seeking an answer from the popular backup who has nine homers. The Giants hope to get some feel from Hundley as they finalize offseason plans, and manager Bruce Bochy said he would talk to the veteran this week. Bochy left no doubt about what he hopes will happen.

“I think he knows what we think of him,” he said. 

Hundley, a 34-year-old who came over in the offseason, has been one of the few overachievers this season. He has 32 extra-base hits in 274 at-bats, taking advantage of increased time with Brandon Belt done for the year and Buster Posey sliding over to first base. Hundley is one of the lineup’s more potent right-handed options, and he has earned praise from the starting staff. Johnny Cueto said Hundley helped him navigate a post-clinch Diamondbacks lineup that was essentially pulled straight out of Triple-A. 

Cueto did so with ease, striking out eight in six innings. He evened his record at 8-8, and he’ll have a chance to clinch a winning season on Sunday. Bochy said Cueto will start the final game of the season, and he confirmed that Matt Cain will start either Friday or Saturday. Asked for more details, the manager kept it just as mysterious as his catcher. 

“I’ll let you know tomorrow,” he said.