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.
Over the winter there was serious talk about the Pirates trading Andrew McCutchen to the Washington Nationals. His move to left field to allow Starling Marte to take over center further served to make McCutchen a less important part of the Pirates long term plans.
Then the season began, Marte got suspended for PEDs and, after a bumpy start, McCutchen caught fire. He hit .411/.505/.689 in June he has a .333/.444/.561 line in the month of July. For the year he’s now at .292/.384/.507 with 17 homers and 57 RBI. Even with Marte back on the roster, McCutchen is the Pirates’ center fielder. What’s more, the Pirates, after beginning the season slowly have righted the ship somewhat and are now only three games back in the NL Central.
All of which makes this, from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, unsurprising:
That option is a quite reasonable $14.5 million, so it seems sorta crazy that they wouldn’t pick it up. Of course if they remain coy enough about it for now perhaps someone will bowl them over with an offer. Letting McCutchen walk seems insane. Unloading him for a hefty haul would, well, still be kinda crazy given how popular McCutchen is with the fan base, but not truly insane.
The Brewers were rumored last week to have been “aggressive” in talks for Tigers reliever Justin Wilson. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports, however, that the talks are a bit more wide-ranging than that.
Crasnick says that the two clubs are also discussing Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, potentially in a package deal with Wilson. Crasnick says that the Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” but their main focus at the moment is pitching help. Of course, the Brewers current second baseman — Jonathan Villar — is hitting a meager .223/.285/.348 in 334 plate appearances.
Kinsler is having a down season for him — .237/.331/.400 — but he’s better than that and, of course, would represent an improvement. He’s under contract through the end of this year but he has a very affordable, $10 million club option for 2018. Wilson will be arbitration-eligible this offseason, so he’s still under team control as well. As such a Kinsler/Wilson package would likely cost the Brewers a high price, so you have to think they’d try to exhaust cheaper options before making such a deal.
The Brewers had been in first place in the NL Central since June 7, but the Cubs caught them yesterday. They’re in a virtual tie, with Chicago percentage points ahead. This should prove to be a very interesting week for the Brewers’ front office.