Before he left for San Francisco, newest Giant Jake Peavy said, “I’d die for that man,” meaning manager Bruce Bochy.
And this being the 2014 Giants, they are already making plans in case of such an eventuality.
“If that happens, we’ll be in a hell of a fix,” general manager Brian Sabean said before the Giants’ fix got one game worse Saturday night, and it certainly did. They took the field, they got righteously Kershaw’d, and they went home, bloodless 5-0 losers.
The game itself was a fairly simple matter. Clayton Kershaw limited the Giants to a Padre-tastic two singles, making the Dodgers’ sun-aided first run the only game-related event worth noting.
Adrian Gonzalez broke up Ryan Vogelsong’s larval perfect game with a liner to right in the fourth inning that accurately tracked the sun and skipped past the blinded Hunter Pence. Six pitches later, Hanley Ramirez dunked a single into left to score Gonzalez and . . . well, all that was left was to wait for the totals, and to dress up Peavy before his 5 p.m. start Sunday against Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Peavy, the veteran righthander who made his name pitching for Bochy in San Diego seven years earlier, had been traded from Boston Friday night for minor league pitchers Heath Hembree and Edwin Escobar, though it took several hours more to get the money part of the deal (Boston took on half Peavy’s remaining $5 million in salary).
He is here (replacing George Kontos) despite having only one win all year, and none since April, because Matt Cain’s injury seems to reached a disturbing stasis, getting neither worse nor better. He was in the truest sense an emergency pickup in a month in which the Giants are having trouble avoiding emergencies.
The latest, though it may only be minor, is that Pablo Sandoval’s back is starting to bark again, though Bochy thought it might not be serious enough to keep him out of Sunday’s game. The Giants, who have managed only five runs and 20 hits in their last four games, will probably beg Sandoval’s vertebrae not to go the way of Angel Pagan’s, lest they be smothered again and fall a game-and-a-half behind the Dodgers in the NL West race.
As for the pitching, Vogelsong, though doomed almost from the announcement of the matchup (and now having pitched for a shut-out Giant team in four of his last six starts), was sufficiently mugged in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to take his fifth consecutive loss.
After retiring the first 11 Dodgers, he gave up five consecutive hits, and then after pitching out of the fifth, gave up a single to Triples Puig, a double to Gonzalez, a grounder by Carl Crawford which second baseman Dan Uggla dove to stop but shorthopped catcher Buster Posey to score Puig, and then two innings later gave up a double to Juan Uribe.
By that point, of course, the Giants had already been utterly subdued, so Vogelsong’s outing will be forgotten – except of course by him.
In an unrelated development, Andrew Susac made his major league debut replacing Posey in the eighth, and didn’t wait for his Kershaw-ing, grounding the first pitch he saw to Uribe to end the inning. He may start again Sunday if Bochy thinks Posey needs a rest, though he is more likely to draw Tim Lincecum’s next start Wednesday against Pittsburgh.
But this is the time of year when nothing is truly an unrelated development. The Giants have reverted to the very pitchable team they were in June, but in the formless National League, that’s pretty much everyone. That, more than anything else, is why they are not as doomed as they looked Saturday night.
Then again, few teams truly can say they are doomed during the National Anthem the way the Giants can when The High Lord Kershaw is on the job, and on their throats.