Some folks would have had you think it was a flashback to the great days of the Dodger Giant rivalry. “It’s like Koufax and Marichal,” intoned a self-appointed expert (takes one to know one, I’ll tell you). I’m sorry, it was Derek Lowe and Matt Cain, for Pete’s sake.
Marichal vs. Koufax meant fast balls buring a hole in the catcher’s glove, and “12 to 6” curve balls. Marichal and Koufax also meant that two teams were battling for the pennant. I’m sorry, but that just wasn’t happening Sunday. We didn’t even have any chin music, and the Giant’s pitcher certainly didn’t try to club Russell Martin with his Louisville Slugger. Koufax-Marichal? Not even. Maybe Osteen-Sadecki, in early May.
I’m not going to say that this wasn’t an entertaining game. Any game that goes eleven innings and ends in a 1-0 score is dramatic baseball. But this wasn’t classic Dodger-Giant stuff. We saw a lot of Giants who spent most of the year in the minors playing for a job next year. We saw a lot of Dodgers who weren’t going to bust an artery over the get-away game on the last home stand of the season. Saturday night was ugly, and while Sunday was entertaining, it wasn’t classic Dodgers-Giants.
Back in the day, guys would be crowding the plate, and the pitcher would “put their shirt in the dirt.” No one would charge the mound, just stare the guy down, and dig back in. There weren’t a lot of diving plays in the outfield, because those players read the ball well and got in position to make the play without having to come up with grass stains. The Giants’ right fielder, Nate Schierholtz, was all over the ground, auditioning for Sports Center. Truth be told, though, he’s an infielder learning to play the outfield, and he doesn’t get a good jump on balls.
The Dodgers have Monday off, and then head to San Diego for three. Last time the Boys in Blue played the Padres, it was a three game sweep. To be honest, back in the early 70’s, when LA was in the title hunt and we used to call them the San Diego Pa-dregs, they used to chew the Dodgers up at the end of the season. I’m hoping that we go in and take care of some business. The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, are heading to Saint Louis as I write. They have a Monday game against Pujols and company, the first of four. Then they have three at home, against the Rockies.
I like our chances. Our magic number is still five. That means we can split the remaining games, and the D-Backs have to go 6-1 to beat us. The Blue Boys have to show up, though, bring their “A game.” That means some hustle in the outfield (did you see the darts Lowe shot at Ethier and Manny on a couple of those singles?), some timely hitting (no more coming up empty after loading the bases), and sustained quality pitching (we saw that Sunday, but not Friday or Saturday). You know, I can imagine an Arizona-St. Louis split, and a Dodger sweep of the Pads. Not far fetched at all. And that would clinch it for LA.
No, Sunday’s game wasn’t a classic Dodger-Giants battle. It was fun, but it wasn’t classic. And if things work out for Joe’s Boys, there won’t be any classic battles next weekend, either.