(Obligatory: Hiroki Kuroda threw his last pitch of the game without the lead. He still ends up with his name in the win column. Hooray, wins!)
Look, far be it from me to try to talk the Giants out of doing something that actively harms their chances of winning, but they have simply got to get Aubrey Huff out of right field before the man kills himself. The books will say that the Dodgers had two RBI triples, but in reality both were due to hilariously poor fielding attempts by Huff. After Rafael Furcal singled to lead off the game, the first run came on Carroll’s liner right at Huff, which skipped past him to the wall for a triple. Matt Kemp continued his quest to destroy the world by following with a homer to plate two, making his season line .873/n2/eleventybillion.
Huff’s second mishap, in the seventh after James Loney got on with a single (against a lefty!), was even better. Marcus Thames, inexplicably allowed by Bruce Bochy to hit against a lefty in a tie game, took Dan Runzler deep to right field. It would have taken a pretty nice play by any outfielder to run it down, and the fact that Huff didn’t isn’t the issue. No, it was that Huff, slow to catch up, dove basically face-first into the wall, missing the ball completely, and allowing the hardly fleet-footed Thames to motor into 3rd, scoring Loney. Aaron Miles (!), Furcal, and Andre Ethier followed with run-scoring hits, but the damage was done. Hilariously, neither ball was ruled an error, so Barry Zito and Runzler had to eat all the damage as hits and earned runs. I look forward to Brandon Belt getting demoted not because he’s not producing, but just so the Giants can stick Huff back at first base.
In between, Hiroki Kuroda threw an effective seven innings, allowing three single runs (one on a Pablo Sandoval homer that was simply crushed), striking out five without issuing a walk. The bullpen did their best to make it interesting – Hong-Chih Kuo and Matt Guerrier allowed three walks and a hit in the 8th, with Guerrier walking in a run with the bases loaded – before Jonathan Broxton came on for his third save chance of the series.
Now, Broxton converted, but he did give up a homer to Aaron Rowand, and you best believe you’ll be hearing plenty about that, particularly with tomorrow being an off-day. I won’t act as though allowing two dingers in three games isn’t concerning, because it is. If you want to argue that he’s not striking people out, he’s not the same as he once was, that’s fine; my response would just be that he’d put up the same results in the 7th or 8th inning as he does in the 9th. The Rowand homer, by the way, was due to poor pitch selection; Rowand is coming off a dreadful year in which he hit just .230/.281/.378 and clearly didn’t have the bat speed to deal with Broxton’s heat. While I’ve generally been in favor of Broxton mixing up his pitches a bit more and not only pumping in fastballs, that’s not the case with a slow bat like Rowand – giving him a breaking pitch was a gift, and Rowand took advantage.
Broxton still has much to prove, no doubt. He’s also converted three saves in the first four games, and that ought to at least help with the self-esteem. Anyway, now the first series is out of the way with three wins over the Giants, and confidence has to be pretty high, right? Kemp’s been otherwordly, Broxton’s gotten the job done, and I think this is a start we’d all have taken ten times out of ten. There’s certainly questions, to be sure, namely “will there be any offense that isn’t generated by Kemp or gifted by the San Francisco defense?”, but for now I’ll gladly keep on the blue-colored glasses and push those questions off for another day.
This isn’t really something we didn’t know before, but Ken Gurnick is reporting that the start for next Sunday’s game against San Diego is still up in the air between Tim Redding, John Ely, and Jon Garland. If Garland can prove his health, he’s the obvious choice (besides, you love to get him as many Petco starts as you can), but if not, I can’t come up with a single reason to choose Redding over Ely. Ely’s on the 40-man, while Redding is not, so you’d not only have to DFA someone to bring up Redding, you’d have to guarantee his $750,000 salary. For what’s likely to be just a single start, seems a lot easier to use Ely, no? Hopefully Garland can go and it’s not even a question.
In the same piece, Gurnick notes that Casey Blake is pushing to be activated for Wednesday’s game in Colorado, which would almost certainly result in Ivan DeJesus being returned to AAA. With a day off on Thursday and questionable early-season weather in Denver (they got snowed out today), it’d almost seem to make sense to just wait until Saturday in San Diego. Either way, DeJesus has done little to prove he belongs so far, so the move will be welcomed.