Is fan loyalty to a poorly-performing team a bad thing?

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I’m not quite sure where Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle is going here.  He starts off strong with an amusing compare and contrast between a softball home-run-hitting exhibition which took place before last night’s Cubs-Giants game and the feckless Giants’ bats.

But then he got into some commentary about Giants fans and their seeming obliviousness to the bad baseball with which they have recently been presented and which is sinking the Giants’ playoff chances like a stone:

On any given night, your favorite Giant goes 0-for-4 against a team long dismissed from relevance. And every night, without fail, the park is filled with enthusiastic patrons, still wrapped in the comfort of last year’s world championship and getting only mildly upset with the proceedings.

I think Jenkins is OK with the show of loyalty — he favorably compares Giants fans to “Boston or Philadelphia, where the folks would be hurling insults, obscenities and Double-A batteries,” but there seems to be a bit of  an exasperated “wake up you idiots!” tone to this.

I guess it just goes back to the never-resolvable argument about whether “good fans” continue to come out and cheer for a team going sideways or, rather, if they make the team pay for its incompetence at the turnstile.

Report: Steven Matz has been pitching through pain, may need elbow surgery

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Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that Mets starter Steven Matz has been pitching through pain for most of the season. He may need surgery to fix a nerve issue in his elbow. Matz was sidelined in spring training with an elbow injury and made his regular season debut on June 10.

Matz, 26, has struggled over 13 starts, posting a 6.08 ERA with a 48/19 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 innings. Many were scrambling for explanations for his pitching woes and now they have it.

According to Carig, the Mets let Matz skip his bullpen sessions to help him pitch through the pain. Given the Mets’ shoddy history of dealing with injuries, that’s not a good look for the club.

Carig noted on Twitter that Jacob deGrom offers some optimism for Matz’s case. deGrom underwent right elbow surgery to repair ulnar nerve damage last September and bounced back to have a great season this year.

Clayton Kershaw’s simulated game went so well he threw an extra inning

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Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to throw three innings in a simulated game on Monday. That simulated game went so well, he threw an extra inning, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Kershaw will make a minor league rehab start next and could be activated towards the end of next week.

Kershaw, 29, has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a lower back strain. That put the pause button on another outstanding season. He’s carrying a 15-2 record with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The 87-35 Dodgers have run away with the NL West, needing some combination of 20 wins and 20 Rockies losses (19 for the third-place Diamondbacks) to officially clinch the division. While the Dodgers are all but mathematically assured of reaching postseason baseball, the club would still like to get Kershaw as ready as possible over the next month-plus.