Monday nights game one at Dodger stadium between Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw promised to be a pitchers duel, and it didn't disappoint... Round one to the Giants.
It was one of the best duels I've seen all season long, as both pitchers were really on their game, but Kershaw made a few mistakes early in the game and the Giants cashed in when they had the chance. Angel Pagan's double to lead off the game helped set the tone and allowed the Giants to get on the board before Bumgarner even took the hill, and he made it stand. The Giants' 23 year-old lefty wound up going 8 strong, allowing just 4 hits and no walks with 10 strikeouts. He was able to keep the Dodgers 3-4-5 hitters off the base paths and that was the key for MadBum Monday night. The fastball was working, the curve was breaking and he was getting ahead of hitters with strike one with regularity. His pitch count was a little high at 123 after the eight, and Boch didn't want to risk running him out there vs. the Dodgers 2-3-4, all right handers, in the 9th. The Giants new closer-by-committee set-up got the nod and did a decent job. Romo left one up to Hanley, but Javier Lopez came in and got Either for the win. The new committee thing is starting to bug me though.
This was really a well played game all around, but the Giants got more opportunities than LA with RISP. Once again, the Giants top part of the order came through, as Pagan, Scutaro and Sandoval accounted for the majority of the offense. 'The Panda' has been a little slow out the gate since coming off the DL last week and looks heavier than he did when he was playing in July, but Monday nights game hopefully gets him going a bit. He kicked a ball on defense that should have been an easy 5-3 putout, and he's got to tighten that up,but he made up for it with the stick, driving in both of San Francisco's runs. Sandoval got the Giants on the board Monday by driving in Pagan with a line drive sac fly out to left, then came out and muscled one over the infield on a pitch on the hands to drive in Angel again in the 6th. Pagan and Scutaro each had an impact at the plate vs. the LA's ace lefty as well, collecting 2 hits each.
Now these next two games really move the advantage to the Giants' side, if Tim Lincecum is himself that is. Timmy will go Tuesday night against Joe Blanton, who's always pitched the Giants well, but is very beatable. Then it's Cain-Capuano in the finale Wednesday. Hopefully Timmy saw how the first pitch strike took so much pressure off Madison on Monday and attacks the zone early on in his start. That's been the key for him lately, when he's throwing strikes and getting ahead, he's wins. When he's not, it goes down hill quickly.
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