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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Giants Move Into First, Now Time to Separate

The Giants just completed a near perfect series against NL West leading Dodgers to move into a tie atop the division. With the Giants playing well and the Dodgers' two best hitters banged up, the time is now for the Giants to create some separation.

Giants Sweep LA
Back when Matt Kemp went on the DL for the first time this season and the Giants were within striking distance of LA, the Dodgers continued to play well even without their superstar. This time around, they haven't been as lucky, as the team has hit a tailspin over the last 2 weeks and just aren't the same without #27 patrolling center field for them. Then on top of that, they got news yesterday in the series finale that their other star outfielder, and guy they just gave an $85MM contract to, Andre Eithier, could be joining Kemp on the DL after straining his oblique Wednesday. Now the door has really opened for the Giants, and they've at least gotten their foot in this time. Watching them take care of the Dodgers at AT&T and the way they did it was extremely reassuring if your an orange and black fan. They did a bit of everything in this series. After a big offensive showing in Monday nights game, it was the Giants pitching and defense that rose to the challenge, and didn't allow LA to cross the plate once during the three-game set. I haven't yet checked recent records or anything, but that's probably the first time the Giants have shut out a first place team throughout a series in a long, long time.

We talked about Barry Zito getting it started Monday, and the offensive showing up in droves early on, but it was the final two games of this series that impressed me the most. The Giants went up against the Dodgers ace and their #2 in those last two games, countering with Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum, and Vogey and
Lincecum Gets Back on Track
Timmy dominated. This series just had a special feel to it, especially after the blowout Monday night. It was as if the Dodgers could summon a young Sandy Koufax to come in and start for the, and the Giants would have still figured out a way to win. In game 2 and 3, they didn't provide near the offensive support they gave Zito on Monday, but it didn't matter because Vogelsong was on like he has been all year, and Timmy stepped up to have far and away his best start since April. It was such a fitting start for Lincecum to break his losing streak in too, as the Giants had the Dodgers on the ropes and needed that win in order to move into the tie and you know Lincecum was feeling the pressure after the way the rest of the staff has been throwing. Tim Lincecum showed you something about himself in that game Wednesday, and over his last two starts, he's given me reason to believe he's really starting to pull out of his rut.

Now that they're tied atop the West with LA, something will have to give in the next couple of days, and with the Dodgers struggling and hurting and the Giants headed in the opposite direction, now really is the time for them to put some separation between them and LA. I know we're still not even halfway through the season, but you always want to move ahead in your division if you can, no matter the point in the season. It won't be easy though, as the Reds roll into town for four games. Last June, the Reds came in and disrupted a Giants winning streak, hopefully that won't be the case this time around.
The Giants Baseball Blog


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