Melk Not Required for Broom of LA
The Giants swept the Dodgers in Los Angeles in late June only to drop three straight to the Dodgers in the Bay Area a month later in July. San Francisco entered this series trailing the Dodgers by 0.5 game in the division, and completed the sweep tonight to take a 2.5 game lead heading into their four game series with the Atlanta Braves.
Joaquin Arias launched a two-out, two-run home run in the first inning to push the Giants to an early 3-0 lead over LA and the Giants never looked back. Behind another vintage Matt Cain performance (7 innings, 1 run, 5 strikeouts), San Francisco overtook their arch rival on their own turf by dominating the pitching matchups each night.
Clayton Kershaw pitched a gem in the opener, however, Madison Bumgarner out-dueled last seasons' Cy Young award winner as the Giants took a 2-1 victory. Both pitchers struck out 10 without walking a single batter. Vintage pitching performances with timely hitting was the Giants call to action during their final month of the 2010 season, which eventually brought them World Series glory.
Pablo Sandoval has returned just in time as Melky Cabrera is done for the remainder of the season due to pure idiocy. He even had his associate try to launch a website to fool MLB into thinking he mistakenly ingested PED's. Regardless, the Giants drank their pre-series milk and took a two-game lead in the season series as well as a 2.5 game lead in the division.
Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez struggled at the plate all series, unable to hit Bumgarner, Lincecum or Cain throughout the series. Angel Pagan finished with 7 hits in the series, Buster Posey came up with timely hits in the first two games and Arias brought 5 runs home in the finale, batting 3-4 with two doubles and a home run.
The Giants took a nice leap toward securing their second division title within a three year span. The healthy return of Posey has allowed the Giants to rely on his bat with a recuperating pitching staff (ahem, Lincecum). If the Giants plan to continue this hot play, newcomer Hunter Pence will need to begin hitting with some consistency. With more strikeouts (23) than hits (16) since his Giants debut, Pence is clearly pressing at the plate, trying to contribute to a true contender in a divisional race.