The Giants have all but wrapped up the NL West with 20 games left to play.
San Francisco held on to beat Colorado 9-8 on Tuesday, while the Dodgers fell 1-0 to the Diamondbacks, giving the Giants a six-game lead in the NL West.
The Giants won on another off night from Madison Bumgarner, who allowed five runs and 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. The Giants used seven relievers to get through the remaining 4 2/3 innings, with Guillermo Mota providing the best showing. He struck out four of the five hitters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings.
Still, the official scorer made the call to give the win to George Kontos, who got two outs after replacing Bumgarner in the fifth. Kontos was then removed for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning.
The Giants’ offensive star was Brandon Belt, who had a solo homer and a two-run double as part of a four-RBI night. Bumgarner went 2-for-2 with a three-run homer of his own to make a big contribution in another outing in which he just didn’t have it. He’s allowed at least four earned runs in four straight starts now, and he may well have taken a fourth straight loss tonight if not for the homer.
The Dodgers’ loss was a much different affair, with two teams combining for just nine hits. The game’s lone run was unearned after Paul Goldschmidt reached on a Hanley Ramirez error to start the seventh. Miguel Montero doubled in him, tagging Clayton Kershaw with a very tough loss.
Ian Kennedy pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings for Arizona. He’s 2-1 with a 0.91 ERA against the Dodgers this year and 11-10 with a 4.61 ERA versus everyone else.
“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”
Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”
That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.
Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.