In baseball, it’s often said not to read too much into one win. It’s a 162-game season. The Giants still have eight more games against the Dodgers. And it’s only August 20.
All that is true. And I heard someone say that the Giants fans may not think Monday’s win was that big win two days from now.
But MoreSplashHits disagrees. So here are 10 reasons why Monday’s victory over the Dodgers was a big win.
NO. 1: THEY AVOID A SWEEP — The worst thing that could have happened to the Giants is being swept again by the Dodgers and leave L.A. 3.5 games out of first place. Now, at worst, the Giants will leave 1.5 games back. Or they will leave a half-game ahead. Or they will leave 2.5 games up. Monday’s win makes all that possible.
NO. 2: THEY BEAT KERSHAW — Last year, Clayton Kershaw owned the Giants, going 5-0 with a 1.07 ERA in six starts against them. This season, Kershaw has a 1.74 ERA in four starts against the Giants. Very good. But he is also now 1-3 against the Giants. Hard to imagine the Giants have beaten the Dodgers five times this season, and three have come against Kershaw. The Giants beat him 2-1 on May 8, 2-0 on June 26 and 2-1 on Monday. Kershaw’s lone win was a 4-0 win on July 29.
NO. 3: BACK IN FIRST — The victory moved the Giants back into first place, one day after giving the Dodgers back the lead in the NL West.
NO. 4: LINCECUM STARTS TUESDAY — Tim Lincecum has been better since the All-Star break, but the Giants still can’t count on their former ace to deliver a quality start every time out. So coming into his start off a win — instead of back-to-back losses — will allow Lincecum to relax a bit. Plus, he’s facing Joe Blanton, who has given up 14 runs in 15.1 innings since joining the Dodgers.
NO. 5: CAN’T WASTE A GOOD START — After having two starters (Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong) failing to pitch into the fifth innings in their last two games, it was imperative that the Giants get a quality outing from Madison Bumgarner. They got that, as MadBum threw eight shutout innings. And the Giants cannot afford to get solid pitching outings and waste them.
NO. 6: IT WAS ON NATIONAL TV — Scribes across the country have been writing off the Giants in the wake of the Melky Cabrera suspension. It was a perfect time to show that the Giants are here to stay in the NL West, as the game was aired live by ESPN.
NO. 7: THEY BEAT AN NL WEST RIVAL — The Giants came into Monday with an 8-10 record this season against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. They have a 24-9 record against the other teams they will face the rest of the season. Given that schedule and coupled with the Dodgers’ tough schedule and the Diamondbacks’ 4.5 game deficit, the Giants can win the NL West by simply playing .500 baseball in the remaining 18 games against L.A. and Arizona. Now, they are 1-0 in those final 18.
NO. 8: GIANTS WERE COMING OFF A LOSS — If the Giants are to stay in this race, they must avoid long losing streaks. The best way to do that is to not start ANY losing streaks. Having lost Sunday in San Diego, the Giants made a move toward starting a winning streak on Monday.
NO. 9: THE DODGERS WERE COMING OFF TWO WINS — The Giants also have to do what they can to prevent the Dodgers from going on a long winning streak. The Dodgers finished their recent road trip by winning their last two in Atlanta.
NO. 10: IT’S THE FREAKIN’ DODGERS — Any win over the Dodgers is a big win.