Opponents at Bay, Dodgers Return to San Francisco
Howard Cole/LA Weekly Bronze foot of Willie McCovey at AT&T Park, with commentary.
Fine, so it's not exactly MacArthur returning to the Philippines. But here we are again; the Dodgers with reinforcements in camp, better prepared for the enemy than when last they met, the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop.
Those Dodgers, in the middle of an eight-game losing streak which would take them from an even record to 13-21, last visited San Francisco on the weekend of May 3 to May 5, leaving the city a half game out of the National League West cellar, tails between their legs.
Zack Greinke had been operated on just days before. Matt Magill starting in his place, would give up five runs in an inning and a third, Mark Ellis was out with an injury, and Dee Gordon would replace Hanley Ramirez, who'd just come back from a month on the disabled list with a thumb injury, only to go right back on with the obligatory hamstring, both occurring at oh-so-lovely AT&T Park.
Current ex-Dodgers Luis Cruz and Matt Guerrier made appearances but not contributions, since-deposed Ramon Hernandez was on the roster but did not participate and Yasiel Puig spent the weekend in Alabama as his Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts were sweep three by the Birmingham Barons.
These Dodgers have Stephen Fife instead of Magill, and he's pitching Saturday. These Dodgers have a healthy and hitting-the-crap-out-of-the-baseball Ramirez in the middle of the diamond, and Carl Crawford returning from the DL to take his regular place in left field, and more importantly, at the top of the lineup.
These Dodgers have Tim Federowicz available to catch Sunday instead of Hernandez and Kenley Jansen closing instead of Brandon League, who is probably going to end up disabled with a phantom injury at some point in the not too distant future because there's little else to be done with him.
These Dodgers have won 10 of 12 games and four straight series, and after bottoming out at 9.5 games back and buried in last, stand 3.5 back and as prepared as ever to compete in the NL West race. These Dodgers are rumored to be in on all kinds of trades to improve the club, with at least one such deal quite possibly coming during the weekend. These Dodgers have Yasiel Puig.
Those Giants, after sweeping Los Angeles in May, led the division with a 19-12 mark. These Giants are without Dodger-killer Angel Pagan, have gone 20-33 since L.A. was last in the Bay Area, have lost nine of their last 10 games, were just no-hitted in Cincinnati by Homer Bailey, and reside in the division basement in complete free fall.
On the other hand, but a single game separates the two clubs, and for all we know the Dodgers will cure the Giants' ills only to leave town with an injured shortstop and in last place, just as happened in May. I'm not predicting; merely pointing out the possibility, because if I have a mantra in this world, it's this: things change not just quickly in baseball, but often. Not just quickly, but often.
So it's the Dodgers and the Giants "rolling all over San Francisco," as Vin Scully will no doubt say. He'll be at the mike for tonight's game and for Sunday's at 1:05 p.m. Big Fox has the Saturday contest at 4:15 p.m. Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Matt Cain tonight at 7:15 p.m., Stephen Fife vs. Madison Bumgarner tomorrow and Clayton Kershaw vs. Chad Gaudin Sunday.
FYI: Since they won 11 in a row from June 11-23, the Toronto Blue Jays have lost eight of 11 games. They're in last place in the American League East, 11 back of the Boston Red Sox. (Sh)it happens.
A gorgeous colorized photo of Boog Powell has been making the rounds in recent days and it's worth a look. Here it is courtesy of Dayn Perry at CBSSports.com.
A closer examination is required for a business and legal analysis of the Oakland A's relocation-to-San-Jose effort, and the Giants' desires to keep it from happening. From Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times.
Finally, thanks to friend Sylvia Vandervelden, for sending along the picture of "something girly for my birthday" below. She'll be part of what is expected to be a large contingent of Dodger fans in San Francisco during the weekend. Enjoy the fun, Sylvia, and all Angelinos in attendance. We'll be watching you.