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The Dodgers hand their rivals another bad loss as the Giants’ skid continues

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“Bad loss” is relative. This was only 2-1. But it was bad in the sense that the same problem which has dogged the San Francisco Giants during their second half swoon — the back end of their bullpen — continued last night at Dodger Stadium. Oh, and they lost their composure as well.

This started as a matchup of aces, as Madison Bumgarner one-hit the Dodgers for seven innings while Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers’ pen allowed only on unearned run all game long. After Wil Smith and Derek Law kept L.A. scoreless in the eighth, the Giants’ new closing concept came into play. No one man is taking over for demoted closer Santiago Casilla but, rather, a hot hand/committee concept is. On first test, it didn’t go well.

Bruce Bochy decided that Law would continue to pitch to start off the ninth and he issued a leadoff walk to Andrew Toles. Law was pulled and Javier Lopez came in and immediately gave up a single to Corey Seager. Then he was pulled for Hunter Strickland who immediately gave up an RBI single to Justin Turner and then a walkoff RBI double to Adrian Gonzalez, completing another late game collapse in what has been an entire half season of collapses for them.

And it was a collapse that featured a bit of chippiness too. Benches cleared at the end of the seventh inning as Madison Bumgarner and Yasiel Puig exchanged words. It appeared to have been kicked off my Bumgarner saying something to Puig after he retired him on a comebacker. Bumgarner was, shall we say, exuberant, likely because Puig doubled off of him earlier and, possibly, because the two of them have had many run-ins in the past. Last night Bumgarner seemed to shout something at Puig as he ran out the grounder and then the two of them stared each other down From the looks of it, it appears to fall under the category of “batters aren’t allowed to flinch lest they be seen to be showing up the pitcher, but pitchers can pound their glove and hoot at anyone they want when they record an out to end an inning.”

Vin Scully was told after this that Bumgarner was hollering at Puig, “Don’t look at me!” over and over. Which, sure, that’s mature.

From the Dodgers’ perspective I’m sure Bumgarner can hoot all he wants. L.A.’s lead in the NL West is now six and a half games and the Giants freefall continues.

Ketel Marte shut down with back injury

Ketel Marte
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With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.

It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.

Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.

Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.