Los Angeles Dodgers Are Going to Regret Letting the Giants off the Mat

Paul Francis SullivanChief Writer IAugust 23, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 22:    Shane Victorino #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers strikes out to end the seventh inning as catcher Hector Sanchez #29 of the San Francisco Giants fields the pitch on August 22, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers had the San Francisco Giants exactly where they wanted them. They had a half-game lead on the Giants when the showdown series in Chavez Ravine began on Monday.

Clayton Kershaw was starting the first game. Tim Lincecum had been struggling and was set to throw the second game. Chris Capuano was coming off of three solid starts and was throwing the finale.

And psychologically, the Giants were reeling. Their All-Star slugger, Melky Cabrera, had tested positive for PED use, and suddenly, the hopes for a division title in San Francisco were thwarted.

It was all doom and gloom for the Giants. Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee wrote that the Giants were likely to stumble like their 2011 version. Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News called it a gut punch.

My many Bay Area friends were saying the Giants could not recover. My many Los Angeles friends were gloating.

The image of a sleeping giant that you should not wake came to mind during this series. The Dodgers did not just wake up the sleeping Giant. They gave the Giant coffee.

San Francisco found a novel way to deal with adversity: Win, and win a lot.

The Giants' pitching staff of Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain made a mockery of the Dodgers bats. What was a half-game lead for the Dodgers turned into a 2.5-game lead for the Giants.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly tried to downplay the losses on 710 ESPN by recycling the old tired line that all games are big and the Giants are no more important than any other team.

That, of course, is utter nonsense. Of course the games against the chief competitor mean more. A win means a loss for them. It is two numbers lopped off of the proverbial magic number.

There are only three more head-to-head games between the Dodgers and Giants. Only three more direct chances to make up those games.

The Giants' magic number is 36. If the Dodgers kicked them when they were down, it would be Los Angeles doing the countdown.

Instead, they are leaving runners on base while the Giants are saying "Melky who?"