Well, both Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum passed their tests today with flying colors… and both former Cy Young winners gave their team the right to have visions of pennants dancing in their heads.
But man oh man did the Giants as a team show the NL West they are for real this weekend.
They were 2 back (3 in the loss column) when they showed up at Petco.
They leave tied (1 back in the loss.)
Remember when their starting pitching went AWOL?
Here’s how they did this weekend.
Matt Cain – 8 innings. 8 ks. 1 walk. 5 hits. 3 earned runs.
Jonathan Sanchez – 5 innings. 4 Ks. 7 walks. 1 hit. 0 earned runs.
Madison Bumgarner – 7 innings. 4 Ks. 0 walks. 3 hits. 1 earned run.
Tim Lincecum – 7 innings. 9 Ks. 1 walk. 7 hits. 1 earned run.
That means the average start this weekend was…
6 2/3 innings. 6.25 ks. 2.25 walks. 4 hits. 1.25 runs.
And that run total includes a garbage time home run in the 9th that Cain let up to Ryan Ludwick.
The Padres are stumbling against any team not called the Dodgers and are about to face a freight train called the Rockies.
And the Giants are going to host the “dead from the neck up” Dodgers.
The Padres could be in third place by the time they leave Denver.
Keep this up Giants.
There are other tests coming up and none of them are written exams.
Now my dad has always told me that when you look at the standings, you don’t first look at the Games Behind column. You look at the loss column. A team can make up wins, but they can’t take away losses.
So often I’ll try to cheer my dad up by saying “The Giants are 3 games back” and he would mumble “4 back in the loss column.”
So I know my dad is scanning the standings like crazy and now his Giants sit on top of the NL West with the Padres.
Now granted, the Giants are still one back in the loss column… but admit it, dad. It looks sweet.
The Giants at the top.
Games behind… ZERO.
As for the Padres… think of this. On August 19th, less than a month ago, they had just finished winning 10 of 11 games and opened up a 6 game lead in the Division.
As recently as August 28th, they still had a 6 game lead.
They are 6-14 since then. 5 of those 6 wins were against the sleep walking Dodgers and the terrible Diamondbacks.
With the Rockies winning streak continuing, there is a possibility that the Padres could fall all the way to third place in the Division.
The Rockies are only 3 back in the loss column.
Either way, tomorrow morning I want my many Giant fan friends to gaze at the standings. You guys haven’t been in first place this late since 2003.
Savor it… and don’t let that loss column bother you.
125 games into the season and the Rays and Yankees are dead even.
They are both the best team in baseball, although if they finished tied it looks as if Tampa Bay would win the AL East based on their head to head record.
Now if I told you there would be two teams tied for the best record in baseball… and one of them had lost their biggest slugger to injuries, their veteran World Champion left handed starter was on the DL, their captain was day to day and they seemed to be starting the 15th caller from WFAN 2 out of every 3 starts.
And the other team seemed to have a never ending supplies of phenoms coming out of their farm system and their former #1 pick over all (no not the pitcher who was #1 over all but the outfielder) was finally hitting….
Wouldn’t you think the second team has the better chance to win one more game than the first?
It’s no longer about payroll. It’s about who will do better over 37 games.
Now if the Red Sox start SWEEPING series, they might be in this equation as well… but for now, the two best teams in baseball have 37 games to determine who will start the post season at home.