The Giants were back at it again in game 2 of their 4-game series with the Dodgers as the sunset through smog-filled skies in the City of Angels. They were looking to build on the momentum of a 7-2 victory last night and extend their lead in the NL West to 3 games.
The Giants went with Alex Wood, making his first start of the 2nd half. Wood won a World Series with the Dodgers last year*. In 83.1 innings pitched this season he had 87 Ks coming into tonight’s game. His success has been largely dependent on the effectiveness of his slider.
The Dodgers started Darien Nunez a left-handed bullpen arm with only 4 innings on his 2021 resume. You know the Giants always seem to do well against left-handed pitching and even better against pitchers they haven’t seen before. But Nunez was only one of many scheduled arms tonight in a bullpen game for the Dodgers.
Realizing the Max Muncy (that funky Muncy) is essentially a one-man wrecking crew against the Giants, Dave Roberts placed him into the 3-spot in the lineup between the red-bearded Justin Turner and some guy named Albert Pujols.
The Dodgers were still without Mookie Betts because his hip kept him out of the starting lineup for a 4th straight game. I personally, wouldn’t mind if it kept him out 6 straight games.
The stage was set for the Giants to either build on their NL West lead, or having it shrink the narrowest margin it had been since… yesterday. Oh, and the Giants were looking to become the first team in baseball to win 60 games. They were also the first team to win 50 games. The Giants came into the game 4-6 against LA overall, but were 4-3 against LA at Chavez Ravine.
Buster Posey drew a one out walk-in the top of the 1st but then Yaz hit a rocket to Pujols at first who turned into a really nice 1-6 double play. It was inches from being a double and putting men on 1st and 3rd with one out. Perhaps in some parallel universe it led to a 15-run first inning for the Giants- but unfortunately its not this one.
We’ve been focusing so much on Max Muncy lately we forget about the cast of unlikeable players employed by the Dodgers. Chris Taylor is one of them, he rudely began the bottom of the 1st with a booming double to dead center that was inches from being a lead-off homerun. Muncy (who by the way leads the league in walks with 61) came to bat in the first with Taylor on 3rd, and hit a ball about 30 MPH up to middle to drive in the first run of the game. What is the source of Muncy’s sorcery? We must find it; we must destroy it. Albert Pujols hit into a double play just 2 pitches later to end the inning.
Wilmer Flores hit a leadoff double to start the 2nd inning, he barely made it to 2nd because I’m pretty sure he was pretty sure that he hit it out and then uh oh… better hustle. Alex Dickerson then hit a line-drive dinger to RF (109 mph exit velocity). I love Dick Dingers. You love Dick Dingers. We all love Dick Dingers. 2-1 Giants.
Gabe Kapler made the decision to challenge a HBP of AJ Pollock to begin the bottom of the 2nd. It was odd and Dave Fleming questioned the decision on the TV broadcast. Alex Wood then struck out the side to strand Pollock on 1st. He fanned Bellinger, Barnes and McKinstry twice once on a check swing that should have been called a swing on 2-2, then looking with a changeup on the corner on 3-2.
The Dodgers #1 Prospect Josiah Gray made his Major League debut in the top of the 3rd. That’s a nice #1 prospect you have there, Dodgers… would be a shame if… he got shelled… and lost confidence.
Gray was drafted by the Reds and TRADED (with others) to the Dodgers for ALEX WOOD (and others). Gray faced Alex Wood to lead off the inning, Wood flew out to right.
Lamonte Wade Jr. hit a towering homerun in the next at-bat. T-Ball location right down the middle. Facing Major League hitters as opposed Major League pitchers hitting is a totally different animal. I saw Wade pop a grape in his mouth in the dugout after his homerun, like some sort of victorious Roman General after crushing some ill-prepared and lesser army on the battlefield. Let them eat grapes. 3-1 Giants.
This is a reminder that the Giants acquired Lamonte Wade Jr. straight up for Shaun Anderson. Anderson is now pitching for the Orioles, after being DFA’d by the Twins and having a cup of coffee with AAA Round Rock (Rangers).
Buster Posey then hit a slow roller-right up the middle for a single. It was his 92nd hit at Dodger Stadium, 2nd most by any Giant- behind only the guy the Cove is named after. Yaz and Flores were both retired.
Alex Wood struck out 2 more Dodgers to start the 3rd, bring his total to that point to 5 strikeouts in-a-row before he hit Justin Turner in the knee with a 3-2 pitch. I’ve never been hit in the knee with a major league pitch, but I’d imagine its terrible. Turner would eventually leave the game. And of course, after the HBP, Max Muncy came to the plate because of course he did.
Wood then hit Max Muncy in the back with a fastball. His 3rd hit batter of the game. It got the attention of the Dodger dugout for sure. Be honest though, you smiled. I know there is never an ideal time to put a runner in scoring position with an HBP but it was Muncy… so.
Wood then attempted to pickoff Justin Turner at 2nd and it looked like the Solano got him… but of course the Giants couldn’t challenge because they had used it already and lost. Pujols grounded out on the next pitch.
Josiah Gray was absolutely filthy in the 4th inning. He struck out the side (Dickerson, Solano and Tauchman) and made them look bad doing it. Alex Wood was able to keep the Dodgers off the scoreboard in the 4th as well, but not before the Dodgers managed to get runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs. He struck out Josiah Gray to end the inning.
Thairo Estrada again is making the most of his time as the Giants starting shortstop. He led off the 5th inning with a homerun to straight away center. The 141st of the season for the Giants, 3rd of the game and 2nd against Dodgers #1 prospect Josiah Gray. 4-1 Giants.
Later in the 5th, Posey drew a 2-out walk and Mike Yastrzemski followed with a 2-run homer to right field. Is there nothing prettier than a left-handed homerun swing? 6-1 Giants. 3rd homer allowed by Gray in as many innings. 142nd of the season for the Giants.
The Giants score 52.7% of their runs via the longball, including all 6 tonight and 3 of their 7, last night.
Remember earlier when I said that the Dodgers have a lot of really unlikeable guys on their roster and I singled out Chris Taylor specifically? Well, he proved my point. After nearly hitting a homerun to lead off the game, he led off the 5th with a big fly to left field… not even Mike Tauchman (who was playing center tonight anyway and thus making this joke kind of stupid) could have leapt high enough over the wall to grab that one. Giants 6-2.
HOLY CRAP! Alex Wood stuck out Max Muncy in the 5th! I didn’t even think that was possible! We must bottle this feeling; we must sell it to the masses.
Josiah Gray found himself again in the 6th. He worked a 3 up, 3 down-inning. He stuck out Solano again and Tauchman again… this was Tauchman’s 3rd strikeout of the game in as many at bats. I’m not going to beat up Tauchman. He seems like a nice guy, is loved by Farhan… and he did have those 2 amazing catches to win games, but yes… he’s looked over-matched by Major League pitching.
Josiah Gray’s final line in his MLB Debut: 4 IP, 77 pitches, 4 H, 4 ER (3 HR), 1 BB, 7 K. The Dodgers needed length and Gray gave them 4 innings. This will not be the last we see of Josiah Gray.
Did you know Cody Bellinger came into the game hitting around .160? I know he has missed a bunch of time and his obviously not 100%, but that seems shocking. He drew a walk to lead off the 6th and that ended Alex Wood’s night.
Last night the Giants bullpen went 6 innings and allowed zero runs. John Brebbia was not a part of that particular bullpen performance.
The Giants brought in John Brebbia tonight and he immediately gave up a double to the unlikeable Austin Barnes that scored Bellinger and finalized Wood’s numbers for the night. 6-3 Giants.
Wood’s final line: 5 IP, 93 pitches, 6 H, 3 ER (1 HR), 1 BB, 7K, 3 HBP. This was a good Wood performance. A quality Wood, not exactly Chestnut or Nordic Cherry, but better than Pine or Balsa.
I’m telling you: Chris Taylor is the WORST! He took Brebbia deep in the 6th for his 2nd homerun of the night and made it 6-5 Giants. At this point you were begging Kapler to take Brebbia out of the game, and he heard you- he went with Jarlin Garcia in a double switch. Mike Tauchman also left the game.
Brebbia has been a bit of a disappointment since joining the Giants bullpen in late June. His ERA is 4.66 and his WHIP is 1.55 in 9.2 innings of work. He has allowed 14 hits and struck out a respectable 11 batters. He is returning from Tommy John surgery and clearly isn’t 100% yet.
Jarlin Garcia immediately surrendered a hit to Matt Beaty and that brought up… *checks notes*… Max Muncy. Good Lord. Mercifully, he flew out to Dickerson on the first pitch he saw to end a 6th inning that saw the Giants nearly cough up their lead.
It’s 9:30 PM PST and we were just starting the 7th.
Dave Roberts removed Max Muncy on a double switch because of a "left shoulder contusion." Possible side-effect of being hit by Wood earlier in the game.
Thairo Estrada led off the 7th with a walk. Slater followed with a base hit to left field. The Giants had set the table with the top of their order coming up and nobody out.
Darin Ruf pinch hit for LWJ and got to take his at bat against lefty Garrett Cleavinger. Ruf is hitting .316 against lefties- he struck out. But it’s okay, right? I mean, Buster was up next. Cleavinger was pulled for the human frowny face emoji, Joe Kelly. Posey popped-up a hanging breaking ball to SS. 2 out. But it’s okay, right? I mean, Yaz was up next. Yaz grounded out to 2nd. 3 outs. But it’s okay, right? I mean, Rob Manfred will change the rules to allow 4 outs in one inning? No. Because he sucks. It was at this moment I felt the momentum shift the LA dugout.
Jarlin Garcia stayed in to face Pujols, Pollock and Bellinger in the 7th and got them all out in just 6 pitches. He threw 8 pitches total in 1.1 innings and got 4 of the biggest outs of the game. I told you yesterday that I wanted to kiss that guy. He’s given up just 5 earned runs in May, June & July combined (none in July) after allowing 6 earned in April. His WHIP is down to 0.92
The Giants went quietly in the top of the 8th and then Jake McGee retired the Dodgers 1, 2, 3 in the bottom of the 8th on just 13 pitches (12 fastballs). So, if you’re keeping track at home… after Brebbia allowed 3-runs on 10 pitches. Garcia and McGee got 7 straight outs on just 21 pitches.
Forever Giant Jimmie Sherfy came into to face his former team for the 2nd time in as many nights in the 9th inning. Thairo Estrada just missed hitting a high fastball over the centerfield fence for the 2nd time. He Finished the night 1-3 with a HR and a walk. Slater struck out on a check swing.
Darin Ruf ripped a grounder to Matt Beaty at 3rd, Beaty made a nice diving stop but threw the baseball to first like it was the first time he ever threw a baseball and it was ruled E5, so Ruf was on 1st. He then nearly got picked off, the Dodgers challenged and he was ruled safe. He then did get picked off but the Dodgers didn’t challenge, so he was still on 1st. On the next pitch he advanced to 2nd on a passed ball. Then Posey struck out to end the inning.
Tyler Rogers- I know he has been effective- but a submarine, contact-pitcher, who throws 75 MPH frisbees doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence when he takes the mound. Especially, when the first guy he had to face was Chris Taylor, who is just disgusting, and came into the at bat 3 for 4 with 2 HRs, a 2B and a walk. He walked Taylor on 4 pitches. Taylor has speed.
Rogers then walked Matt Beaty on 5 pitches. Taylor’s speed was now in scoring position. That brought up Will Smith who was batting in Max Muncy’s spot in the order.
Will Smith hit a 3-run walk-off homerun.
The Dodgers won 8-6. The Giants blew a 6-1 lead. Their NL West lead is back to 1 game. They Giants are 4-7 against LA overall.
Logan Webb goes tomorrow against Julio Urias.
*in a 60-game regular season.