Buckle up, y’all – it’s gonna be a somewhat bumpy start today.
Once upon a time, I used to live in the strange world of Los Angeles. My apartment stood high on a hill that overlooked both East L.A. and downtown, a nestled little juxtaposition that I would tend to appreciate on days where I didn’t have to be given the Heimlich maneuver from literally biting down on the smog and choking.
I played the traffic game (a provocative adventure that includes screaming your internal organs out onto your dashboard when your car moves an entire six inches after three hours), the “wait, can I actually park here at this time?” game followed by the getting your car towed game, the renting the refrigerator game (most apartments don’t come with them), the game where I would put “the” in front of the freeways, all that jazz. I got used to it. I thrived off all of it. However, there was one game I wasn’t willing to play.
It should be known that I lived a stone-throw’s distance away from Dodger Stadium. That’s right – I lived a minuscule few blocks from the Death Star itself. I’d have to stifle a cornucopia of cuss words I felt bubbling up whenever bombastic Dodger fans would flood the street in front of my apartment building and parking in our parking spots. Being a Giants fan my entire existence, this would tend to… well, peeve me. THAT WAS MY PARKING SPOT, YOU PIXELATED BLUE TUGBOAT.
So, naturally, I’ve been waiting my entire existence to write a Dodgers/Giants recap. Every middle finger I threw up while standing on that very balcony has been leading up to this moment.
Which, of course, means the Dodgers would hand the Giants a 1-0 loss thanks to a brief fit of anger that actually mirrored my own experience living in Los Angeles for all the years I was there.
Though, unlike some people - I was able to keep my anger in check.
Bumgarner vs. The Dodgers tends to get a little heated: pic.twitter.com/WSMPwWEEkX— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 9, 2019
The puzzling tone of the game was actually set when Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner tossed a few words around with home plate umpire Will Little after Enrique Hernandez hit a fly ball to Kevin Pillar to open up the game. So when Max Muncy stepped into the batter’s box, Bumgarner was already galvanically red faced and ready to do battle, and the battle of the words came when Muncy hit a solo homer almost to Sacramento.
Both the pitcher and the first baseman exchanged words while Muncy casually rounded the bases (hey, it’s what Bum told him to do) while making the “come-at-me” one-handed Night King arm raise toward Madison, who seemed to be policing the runner’s reaction.
That would be the only run Bumgarner would allow in seven innings.
The rest of the game would be a defensive matchup between Bumgarner and Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler as both held batters to limited hits, thus creating some pretty magnetic defensive plays.
Buehler had the Giants’ offense in his crosshairs and managed to simply confound the San Francisco batters for the seven scoreless innings he was on the mound, throwing 91 pitches, striking out nine.
The only time the Giants look like they were about to cause a stir was in the bottom of the sixth inning when Mike Yastrzemski led off with a single (why YES, Yastrzemski was the first leadoff hitter to reach during this loss – thanks for not asking) which was followed by Evan Longoria lining a single to right field. Yastrzemski took his cue and made it to third, putting runners on the corners with zero outs.
Pablo Sandoval unfortunately then hit a one-hopper to Justin Turner at third who threw it to Austin Barnes at home, successfully putting Yastrzemski in a pickle which ended in the outfielder being tagged out by a quick Barnes as he tried to haul rear back to third.
The game then silently died along and was laid to rest along with the day’s non-existent wind as the Dodgers muffled the offense and let the one run of the game do the talking.
It was all too visible that Madison was clearly in need of an anger translator in the form of a hot bat. Even though he only allowed four hits, a walk, and struck out five, it was his empty words and the quixotic way he handled his stress in the first inning that will be remembered during this loss.
Looks like I have to patiently await to actually cover a game where the Giants top the Dodgers so I can actually gloat.