On Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers, and momentum

Jason O. Watson

Does momentum exist? Do the Dodgers have it? Does this sentence, this very sentence, make you picture Tommy Lasorda in a thong? Answers to these questions and much more within.

So the Giants lost their fifth straight game on Wednesday, and the Dodgers threw a no-hitter.

Hello. I'm here to talk to you today about momentum. Some people believe it exists, some people think it's only as important as the next day's game. Some people would take Clayton Kershaw's game as proof, absolute proof, that the Dodgers have the kind of momentum that will have the Dodgers in first place by the All-Star Game, and some people would take the no-hitter as proof that Clayton Kershaw is a talented pitcher.

Lucky for you, I have the answer. This is the official, inarguable answer.

  1. Momentum might exist

  2. Momentum is erratic, capricious, and drug-addled

  3. Momentum says that it loves you, and then steals your jewelry for drug money

  4. You don't know what kind of mood momentum is in right now

The Giants had momentum last week. Oh, god, last week was so awesome. Wish I had a time machine to go back there, man. Those were the salad days. Those were the salad days. Then momentum pushed us off a bridge and left with our dog.

Let this be the official judgement of momentum, then. This no-hitter. If the Dodgers come back and take the division, we will allow for more discussion about momentum in the future. It won't be immediately dismissed, at least. It will reside in the same dunno-maybe box as clutch hitting and players who supposedly can't handle pressure.

However, however, however. If the Giants win the division, if the Giants turn this horrible chemical fire around, then we can officially stop talking about momentum, at least as it applies to teams in April, May, and June. July, August, and probably September, too. It will not be tolerated, and you will be mocked. The instant response will be something about how Kershaw and the Dodgers had so much momentum on June 19, 2014, yet they couldn't even win the lousy division.

Ladies and gentlemen, I propose the Giants do this second option. For baseball.

My bigger concern, the thing that bugs me more than the Dodgers winning and Clayton Kershaw looking like an unstoppable demon robot, is that the Dodgers are a better team than the Giants. This is what everyone figured before the season, give or take, that their 25 players were probably better than the 25 players we root for. For 70 games it didn't matter because the Giants couldn't do anything wrong, which eliminated the advantage the Dodgers were supposed to have.

That concerns me more than momentum. The Giants' advantage is somehow down to four games already, which means they'll have to rely on the improbable again if they want to take the division. It was much more fun to have the improbable in the bank and rely on the team being good-not-great, which seemed like a likely scenario just 10 days ago.

The Dodgers appear to have momentum. I don't care. The Dodgers appear to have a very, very talented team. That, I care about a lot. Stop screwing up, Giants.

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