Giants beat Dodgers, win fourth series in a row

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Momentum is drunk and stealing the change from the ashtray in your car right now. Do not trust momentum. You leave your kids with momentum for, like, five seconds, and you'll come back to a grease fire. You think you can trust momentum. But you're wrong.

Momentum is an Opening Day that ends with the best player on the other team pitching a shutout, hitting a home run, and zipping through World 8-3 without dying. Don't trust it. Because momentum will turn around and shove seven Tim Lincecum walks in your face, then take off in the other direction and climb up a tree. Where are you going, momentum? You are awful. Get down from there.

But the Giants somehow got a cup full of momentum. After Opening Day, that seemed improbable. If you would have known that Lincecum was going to set a career high in walks, it would have seemed impossible. Instead, the Dodgers leave runners all over the place, which has to be frustrating for them and their fans. It's probably not polite to rub it in. But, goodness, 12 runners left on base. And 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position. And 12 runners left on base. Also, 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

The Giants won't win a lot of games like this one, but they will win a lot of games in which they get home runs from both Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence. It's hard to tell which one was more impressive -- Sandoval's, because it was chins-high, or Pence's, because it was a low, opposite-field shot in the nighttime air of Dodger Stadium. I'll go with Pence. Without checking, I'm going to guess he didn't have many of those with the Giants last year. And by "those," I mean "hits." So it's good to see one that impressive, that early.

While Sandoval's homer might not have been quite as impressive, it was responsible for tonight's moment of zen: Watch for the beach ball as he rounds third. So serene. So calming. If you're having troubles sleeping tonight, think of the sound that beach ball made in the silent crowd as Sandoval rounded the bases.

Durnk. Durnk. sigh. Durnk. Durnk.

It wasn't a pretty win. But it was a series win. Against the Dodgers. In Los Angeles. After the this-means-something dread of the opener. Fine work, gents. Heads up, though. Momentum is rummaging through your fridge right now.

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Now we get to Tim Lincecum. Tim Lincecum did not have his best control tonight. Tim Lincecum just might have had his worst control tonight. Tim Lincecum looked like he swallowed a miniature Jonathan Sanchez, played by Dennis Quaid, and was being controlled from the inside.

Here's the real crime of Lincecum's 2012: He can't have "one of those games." Everything has to mean something. Ryan Vogelsong walked five Rockies on May 14 last season. One of those games, man. No biggie. One of those games. But when Lincecum walks seven, it's like …

… well, okay, holy crap, seven walks …

… but when Lincecum walks seven, it has to mean something. He's broken, he's never coming back, put him in the pen, put him on waivers, oh, fie, fie, our Lincecum is broken. Which all might be the case. But just as I'm not about to suggest that Chad Gaudin is a boffo late-inning relief option because of one outing, I'm not about to write Lincecum's season off because of one wacky start.

His ERA is 0.00, you know.

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But, say, let's talk about Chad Gaudin becoming a boffo late-inning relief option. I warned you about the stuff, remember. He has good stuff, the kind of stuff that has made about a dozen teams think, "Well, maybe …" over his career. I mean, he's a rare ellipsis player on Baseball Reference:

Screen_shot_2013-04-03_at_11


Here's thing to remember about relievers, though: They come out of nowhere. Take a look at the most valuable relievers (non-closer division) last year. In a chunk of the cases, they were miscreants and ne'er-do-wells until they were 30. Darren Oliver and Matt Belisle were two of the worst starters in baseball when they snapped into place. So it can happen for Gaudin.

That isn't to say that it will, or that it's likely. And I'd like to see him in lower-leverage situations until the Giants have a better idea. But, dang, did he make Matt Kemp think scissors when he threw rock tonight.

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I don't get upset when Hector Sanchez gets in the lineup. I get upset because he's on the roster. Lemme explain.

Buster Posey is going to sit every fifth day, as he should. So I don't care if it's Sanchez or Guillermo Quiroz or Yamid Haad playing. The backup catcher is going to be a backup catcher because they aren't good enough to be a starting catcher. The lineup will take a hit. The defense might take a hit. So play the backup catcher, and let's not worry too much about it when they don't hit.

I can't fathom what the benefit of Sanchez is, though. I'm not even talking about the in-game situations or the short-term benefits. I'm talking about everything. How is it good for Sanchez to play every fifth day and, when he does play, catch a guy who doesn't know where the ball is going? A guy who could use a little extra framing? How is it productive for the Giants not to have good defense and receiving for a guy like Lincecum right now?

The only explanation is they think Sanchez's bat is too good to demote, or that it makes up for the defensive shortcomings. It makes up for the shortcomings so well, the explanation goes, that it's worth giving meager playing time to a 22-year-old catcher who needs to play and learn.

I don't get it.

The important thing is that the Dodgers are unhappy right now.

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