Something about game three's are giving this team trouble as they failed to complete a three-game sweep for a third consecutive series. The Giants have won every single series since the All-Star break, but have swept just one team.
First off, the most important thing to point out is that they are managing to take each series they play, and are playing good baseball all in all. It's tough to complain too much when they're in first place and beating teams they should, but they had a great opportunity for a sweep today vs. San Diego and both their offense and pitching did not show up. Tim Lincecum took the hill again after two very impressive outings to start the second half, and he had his swing and miss stuff again Wednesday, but unfortunately his command eluded him. He managed to mow down 8 batters in 4 2/3 innings, but he also allowed 10 base runners and two home runs in under 5 innings of work. On the other side, Jason Marquis, who's been so good vs. the Giants over the years, got back to his owning of Giants hitters. Two of the three runs the Giants scored Wednesday came on a passed ball and sac fly. The bats didn't fair much better the previous night in game two either, but luckily Madison Bumgarner shut down the Pads and Brandon Crawford came up with the big hit in the 9th to win the ballgame.
A big reason for the offensive fall off the last two games has been loss of Pablo Sandoval, who left Tuesday's game with hamstring soreness and didn't return Wednesday. With their huge series vs. LA coming up this weekend, there was no way the Giants were going to risk rolling Panda out there Wednesday, but they may
end up having to play LA without their slugger anyway. There should be plenty of fireworks this weekend regardless though, as the two favorites in the West kick off what should be an interesting two-month stretch drive. The Dodgers will have a new face in the lineup this weekend as well after completing their blockbuster deal with Miami to bring in Hanley Ramirez. We talked about Ramirez here a bit the last few days as a possible target for the Giants in which they may be able to get him at a bargain as long as they absorb all his salary. Unfortunately someone beat them to the punch, and even worse, it was the team they're trying to hold off in order to win their division. I don't think this move will force the Giants into making one themselves in "knee-jerk reaction mode, but this move will definitely gives the fading Dodgers a huge shot in the arm.
There's still a bunch of baseball to play in 2012, but this series really reminds me off last July's matchup with Philly at the deadline. The Giants ultimately fell off after that road trip and the acquiring of Carlos Beltran while the Phills took off after their acquisition of Hunter Pence. This upcoming matchup with the Dodgers could set the tone for the rest of the season and they need "The Panda" ready!