There really isn't any rhyme or reason to this Kershaw/Lincecum thing. Kershaw has been better than Lincecum this year, but it's not like the difference between Justin Verlander and Brad Penny. They've both been fantastic. Kershaw has an ERA just over 1.00 against the Giants this year; Lincecum's is just under 2.00 against the Dodgers.
The Giants couldn't beat Kershaw this year. Doing so would have triggered some Doc Brown nonsense where your mother never met your father. When Lincecum faced Kershaw, it was Lincecum who would allow the solo home run or two-out hit at the wrong time. Kershaw would do nothing of the sort, and he'll probably win the Cy Young because of it. Almost 20% of his starts this season came against the Giants. Against the teams that aren't the Giants, his ERA is 2.54. Lincecum's season ERA is 2.59.
The difference between Lincecum and Kershaw this season is that Lincecum didn't get to face the Giants.
Oh, there's more to it than that, I know. But the numerical symmetry is just too laughable to ignore. It was great that the Giants exploded for all of those runs in Colorado -- really, that was fun. But they're still on place to be a historically awful offense. They're on pace for 570 runs this year. Fewer than any non-strike year since moving to San Francisco. Fewer than the 1885 Giants, who played 112 games, and fewer than the 1985 Giants, the only team in franchise history to lose 100 games.e
That's the reason the team will go home in October, hopefully to sit in a corner and think about what they did. That's the reason Clayton Kershaw will win the Cy Young. That's the reason Tim Lincecum might finish under .500 for the season.
This game was another eye-opener. In a world in which Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and Freddy Sanchez are all injured, this was the Giants' lineup. Remember: last year, the Giants crushed lefties, mostly because of those names up there. About 350 days later, and you have Mark DeRosa hitting cleanup and Brett Pill hitting fifth. I'd complain about Justin Christian and Chris Stewart, but they combined for two-thirds of the Giants' hits tonight.
This was a keep-Cody game. It's not like he's the difference in this game, but he's a hitter who can crush lefties. The Giants are light on those, and it's so danged obvious when Ross isn't in the lineup. Kershaw probably won't be traded for some T-bonds in the offseason, so the Giants should probably think about how they can hit lefties next year. They'll get players back from injury, sure, but it wouldn't hurt for them to be a little proactive on this front.
Also, the Giants should think about getting some better hitters.
There are discouraging games, and there are Dodger wins that seriously harm the chances for the Giants to make the playoffs. Can't get that stink out with a little Lava soap. Not at all.
I hear Scottsdale is lovely in March.