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Here is a link to my Monday column about the Dodgers sweep of the Giants. The full text runs below:

Righthander Jake Peavy did reasonably well in his Giants’ debut on Sunday. But enough about him.

The Giants lost the third time in a row to the rival Dodgers, got swept. At home. They began the game in second place and, by virtue of the 4-3 loss, fell further behind the Dodgers – they now are a game and a half out of first place.

A game and a half, you may think, is no big deal. The Giants have six more games against the Dodgers and those games will decide a lot. But it’s never good to get hosed at home especially in front of the usual big crowd. If the Giants had won – they didn’t – they would have taken back possession of first place. They would have shown they can compete with L.A. And they would have played like champions, something they used to be.

None of the above.

If you don’t think Sunday’s game was important listen to what Bruce Bochy said before the game when asked if he needed a win: “I think it’s critical, there’s no getting around that.”

You read it here.

Here are a few numbers courtesy of Giants’ public relations to put things in perspective. At home, the Giants have won six of their past 25 games. That is stinko.

The Giants have won just one their last eight series at home. Stinko to the max.

Beginning in early June, the Giants have averaged fewer than three runs a game at home. Totally stinkerama.

But none of that explains what happened Sunday. When things became serious, the Giants fielded like Little Leaguers. For starters, Dan Uggla, one of the Giants’ pseudo basemen, committed two errors. The first led to an unearned run. Is the word “Uggla” a variant of “ugly,” as in ugly fielder?

But the Uggla errors had nothing on the Dee Gordon Play. You’ve never in your life seen anything like it.

Top of the fifth. The Giants led 2-1. Gordon, the Dodgers’ speedy second baseman, came to the plate with one out. He struck out swinging. Except he didn’t. The ball skidded away from catcher Buster Posey and Gordon ran safely to first base. Peavy wild pitch No 1.

Yasiel Puig walked. Runners at first and second. One out.

Peavy threw wild pitch No. 2. Runners moved up to second and third. One out. The runner at third was Gordon. Remember that.

Adrian Gonzalez struck out swinging. But Posey did not hold onto Strike 3. Posey had to record the Gonzalez out by throwing to first base. Unfortunately, Posey was not alert enough to remember who was at third. The speedy Gordon. As Posey threw out the slow-footed Gonzalez, the quick-footed Gordon took off toward home plate where he scored.

On the radio, Mike Krukow pointed out that, because Gonzalez runs like a tortoise, Posey should have looked Gordon back to third base and then thrown out Gonzalez. Posey had plenty of time. But he did no looking. After that, the Dodgers scored two more runs – three total in the inning. And that was the game. A bad way to lose. A bad look all around.

After the game, I asked Bochy about the Dee Gordon Play. “(Posey) had Gonzalez running there, so he had time to check him,” Bochy said in a sad voice. “He threw to first without looking. Gordon’s got that kind of speed.”

Here is Gordon on the Dee Gordon Play: “It was on my own,” he said of his dash to home.

When did Gordon decide to go for it?

“As soon as he (Posey) snapped his head and didn’t look at me. I didn’t think he could get me and Gonzo. That’s when I decided to go.”

Good for Gordon. Bad for Posey.

The Giants have lost four in a row. That’s a lot of losses in a row, especially as we round into August. Why have they lost four in a row?

They have half a team. They have no center fielder and several poseurs at second base. They depended too much on Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro. Everyone could see Pagan and Scutaro were headed for bad injuries. Scutaro never again will be a serious major leaguer. Pagan’s future remains unclear. He has not even begun a rehab assignment. His backup, Gregor Blanco, is strictly a bench player.

Matt Cain is hurt and, according to Bochy, “We don’t have a target date when he’ll start throwing.” That’s why Peavy is on the roster. Brandon Belt and Hector Sanchez suffered head injuries and are not ready to play.

Half a team.

So I ask: Can a team that is half a team win a whole division? You tell me.

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn atlowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.

 

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16 Comments

  1. Steve the cat rescuer

    All the talking head, Giants pom pom boys on KNBR (including Marty Lurie) were saying “why not take a shot with Uggla, he isn’t going to cost anything.” Well, he cost the Giants this game. At least Hicks could field his position and run into one every now and then. Uggla was washed up two years ago.

    I think they’re done; the Dodgers will win the division by double digits and the Giants will fade from wild card contention. They should have traded Pablo while he still had some value; now they’ll probably resign him to a mega contract and watch him gain 50 or more lbs. during its duration. If they don’t spend some money and wisely restructure this team with young players, there will be more of the same in years to come. The farm system may be the worst in baseball.

    July 27th, 2014 11:32 pm

  2. dharte

    What is always galling about the Giants is their relentless and dishonest PR machine (KNBR being only one example): Larry Baer has shilled for this ownership group for years, and the excuses always circle around the false premise the Giants are a “small market” team. The Giants are clearly not a small market team: Forbes lists them among the most valuable sports franchises in the world; their “dynamic ticket policy” instituted a few years back is among the most expensive in the league; and their concessions and parking profits are among the highest in all of sports…so the Giants can clearly afford to pay for a complete team, not just a handful of (aging) stars, but the executives and this ownership group (again, among the wealthiest in the world, not just in baseball) refuses to pay to compete.

    For this level of cheapness they should be boycotted by their fans until they show a willingness to compete, and obviously that means fielding a team to challenge the Dodgers.

    The 49ers don’t play for 2nd place–hell, the Warriors aren’t playing for 2nd place at this point. So why can the Giants be allowed to field such an embarrassment of mediocrity at so many positions? Hicks, Blanco, Torres, Pill, Colvin, Sanchez, Perez, Uggla, Arias, Petit…the names change but the results are the same. And the fact remains that a lineup with three or four players of this caliber will never beat the reconstructed Dodgers over 162 games.

    What is most frustrating for longtime fans is to see real talent become available–players like Puig, Cespedes, Chapman, Darvish–and yet the Giants do nothing.

    Why? Is Cincinnati a bigger market team? The Rangers? The A’s?

    Your move Larry. Or are you too busy managing that retirement fund? Not another dollar from me. Together we’re Giant? You cannot be serious, at least about winning.

    July 28th, 2014 7:18 am

  3. mendozaline

    Down by 1 run as the bottom of the 9th started, the Giants were poised to send to the plate Duvall – .200 Uggla – .152
    Crawford – .238 with Colvin – .230 ready to be the fourth batter. The first 3 hitters all struck out. You are correct. The Giants are playing with half a team.

    July 28th, 2014 8:17 am

  4. Gary

    The 2010 World Series was truly a revelation. The 2012 Series felt like they were playing with house money. If you want to see a team with mojo, look across the Bay.

    July 28th, 2014 8:46 am

  5. Mark M

    So easy, and yet so silly, to make so much of one series. It’s tough and it hurt, but there is just too much time left to get in a snit.

    The one main difference between the two clubs is athleticism. The Dodgers have speed, move around the bases well, and are pretty solidly built. But we’ve never been a speed team and it still allowed us to win the ring, so I don’t believe it’s a critical shortcoming. Get healthy and let the chips fall.

    Welcome back Lowell.

    July 28th, 2014 10:01 am

  6. Ben

    if we’re being honest with ourselves as giants fans, this year’s dodgers team is just way better than this year’s giants team.

    that lineup is scary good. giants lineup? scary in another sense entirely.

    i think the best we can hope for at this point is that the dodgers choke in the playoffs. which i fully expect, for what it’s worth.

    if sf can somehow sneak into the playoffs, one never knows. but i’m already psyching myself up for the 49ers and Warriors seasons.

    July 28th, 2014 10:05 am

  7. Johnc

    I agree that Scutero may be done and Pagan needs surgery to repair a bulging disc…all the physical therapy in the world won’t fix that before the season is over.
    Giants have sold out 300 something games with fancy ticket prices and rip off concession and parking fees. I agree that if they want to compete with the Dodgers they better start paying for quality players with the money they are raking in from the loyal fans.

    July 28th, 2014 10:09 am

  8. dharte

    @ Mark M

    One series? This is about the last two seasons (and no one should pretend the 2012 championship didn’t have a massive amount of luck swinging the Giants’ direction).

    The point is quite simple: if you’re the 49ers, you build your team for one opponent–Seattle. And if you can’t beat Seattle, you’re just playing for 2nd place. Bill Walsh never played for 2nd place; Jim Harbaugh does not either. Jerry West certainly didn’t construct the Lakers dynasty to finish 2nd; he shaped his teams to beat Larry Bird & the Celtics. This is an old story in sports and a fascinating one.

    So the Giants now have a choice, a stark one: the minute Magic Johnson & his group bought the Dodgers it was clear the stakes were going to be raised; for the Giants to win anything that matters, they have to act with the Dodgers in mind. And yet Baer & Co. trot out the same mediocre slop for two seasons, with no chance of competing in their own division over 162 games. Besides Buster Posey, who on the Giants could start for the Dodgers? Panda? I’d rather have Uribe, who is a far more professional player. Pence? Maybe, though Matt Kemp seems to be getting hot at exactly the worst time for Giants’ fans.

    The fact is that the Giants’ lineup is a joke compared to the Dodgers, and that includes the pitching staff, where only Bumgarner is an obvious match for the quality of Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu. And if they land Jon Lester? They’ll win by at least 10 games–maybe 15.

    So the question is then whether the billionaires who have been cashing in like bank robbers these last few years, and the great man Baer himself, are going to start competing, which means paying for the players needed to compete. Michael Morse, Tim Hudson, Dan Uggla, Jake Peavy (at the expense of two supposedly talented minor leaguers), Gregor Blanco or Tyler Colvin aren’t going to cut it–not against Magic & his boys.

    So why is it the Giants refused to bid on Puig, or Cespedes, or Chapman, or Darvish? When you have very low draft choices, wouldn’t you want to bid on such talent? Assuming, that is, that championship baseball is the point?

    No one would doubt that Harbaugh is in this business to win. West & Kerr will always be focused on winning. Larry Baer? You tell me, Mark….

    July 28th, 2014 11:06 am

  9. Mark M

    Yikes, fortunately I’ve already found out there is no telling you anything DHarte. You are, and always will be, the president of the Alex Smith clown club. It doesn’t matter how obviously wrong you were all along, you’ll never admit it. Same is true here I’m sure.

    The Dodgers haven’t won a thing. Haven’t even been to a world series with this management team. But we’re going to design our team to beat them when we’ve won two rings in the past 4 years with a similar formula that built this team? And you don’t think that maybe you are making too much out of one baseball series in a 162 game schedule? Yikes, we could be back in first place in two days. Try medication.

    There ya go dude….I’ve obliged and told you to take a pill for all the good it will do.

    July 28th, 2014 12:18 pm

  10. Steve the cat rescuer

    @Mark M: The current Dodgers management team assumed control last year; the Dodgers made the playoffs. The Dodgers will win the division this year. It’s not one series, it’s the Giants record since their 42-21 start: 15-27. I believe only Texas has a worse record over the last 42 games. The Giants traded away one of their leading prospects (albeit not living up to the billing) and the player they have been touting as their “future closer” for the past three years for a 37 year old pitcher with a 1-10 record and ERA around .450. Collectively, the Giants minor league team stats are: BA: .260; ERA: 3.95; FPCT: .974. Meanwhile the A’s can’t find a spot on the roster for Tommy Milone, despite the fact that they lost two of their starters before the season began. Who needs to take some meds other than the hallucinogens you’re consuming?

    July 28th, 2014 1:27 pm

  11. dharte

    Mark, Mark…Alex Smith? That debate was years ago?

    And he’s done badly, I gather.

    If you want to pretend that the Giants are a strong team, and that the job that Magic Johnson and his people have managed in LA is not worth respect until they win the title, be my guest.

    And do let us all know how you’re enjoying Baer’s “Dynamic Pricing” policy after your next few visits to the City.

    July 28th, 2014 5:34 pm

  12. Mark M

    Every summer, baseball writers declare the sky is falling in July. It’s as old a past time as the game itself. You’d think veteran fans would come to understand this and wait for the leaves to turn color before declaring doom and gloom, at least while we are so close to first place. It’s not about the fight against one team. Any team can fall off. Any team can rise up. The Phillies appeared to have a vastly superior lineup as well just a few seasons ago. Surely we stood no chance against a proven team like that. The team that got hot, the Giants, did so and we won it all with late runs…..twice. The Giants management have already proven themselves to us, more than any other Bay Area franchise, that they can build a champion. Not even the Niners have had such success, and certainly not any other Bay Area franchise has even come close. I’ll take results over your silly WE MUST BUILD OURSELVES TO BEAT THAT ONE TEAM philosophy any time.

    But we lose one series in July, and sure enough, here comes the sky raining down on us again. The evil frightful Dodgers are going to destroy us. We better run for the hills. In July. I would have thought some people would have learned by now. I don’t know the outcome of this season yet, and neither do you. But I do know the Giants management team has earned my trust that they know what they are doing. Let’s get healthy and see what we can do. Again, take a pill. It might just work out. Or maybe you should run for the hills…

    July 29th, 2014 9:31 am

  13. dharte

    @MarkM

    And besides Belt, and maybe Pagan, who exactly do you see “getting healthy”?

    Cain? Who else? Scutero? Good luck with that.

    The point you keep dodging is the fact this organization refuses to pay for a complete team of front line starters, yet wants to compete with a team that not only has better everyday ballplayers, but a much better bench.

    And to compare the Giants, who are not working with a salary cap and yet have no depth on their roster, with the 49ers who are very deep in spite of salary cap restrictions is telling.

    Enjoy the trade deadline.

    July 29th, 2014 11:57 am

  14. Mark M

    By all means, let’s ignore the RESULTS! Which you’ve done well.

    Pagan is key for this lineup. I don’t know why but having a great table setter has been key for this lineup for some years now. It was Torres in 2010, and now it must be Pagan, as it was in 2012. The other names you list as well. Good job.

    The only thing I’m avoiding is your exhausting pedantic fatalism which is difficult without speed scrolling.

    July 29th, 2014 2:51 pm

  15. dharte

    Mark,

    It must be exhausting. And how is this series working for you?

    As for RESULTS (speaking of pedantic), the Giants lack of depth speaks for itself, and quite a bit clearer.

    So tell us again just how Perez and Ishikawa, along with Uggla, Peavy and Wally Pipp, will turn the tide.

    This organization is embarrassingly cheap. That’s who they are, and of course it’s a business decision, a calculation, and pure P.T. Barnum.

    July 29th, 2014 10:47 pm

  16. Albert Park

    I’m sorry, but in this dharte vs. Mark M. debate, I think dharte has the facts and logic on his side. Mark M. is whistling past the graveyard.

    The series loss to the Dodgers was shocking. The ballyard prices are shocking. And management owes the loyal fans a competitive team.

    July 29th, 2014 11:16 pm

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