Baggs' Instant Replay: Dodgers 10, Giants 0


Baggs' Instant Replay: Dodgers 10, Giants 0


SAN FRANCISCO Just over a month ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers didnt score a run in three games at AT&T Park. And comically, their equipment truck broke down on the way to SFO.

That truck is up and running again, and the Giants zombie-walked into its path.

Matt Kemp, who has video-game numbers against Barry Zito, pinged him pretty good for a two-run home run in the first inning. But the Giants unplugged offense was the most disturbing part of Saturdays 10-0 hide-tanning at the hands of their archrivals at AT&T Park.

The Giants only had two hits in the first seven innings and they shouldve been gimmes: leadoff doubles in the second and fifth. They let both chances pass and the Dodgers kept accelerating, cutting the Giants lead to one game in the NL West and positioning themselves for a chance at a three-game sweep at China Basin.

The difference between this series and the last one? Simply put: injuries.

The Dodgers didnt have Kemp last time. The Giants are without Pablo Sandoval now. And although Marco Scutaro made his Giants debut Saturday, hes not intended to be a response to the Dodgers cash-absorbing addition of Hanley Ramirez.

Already, Ramirez is making an impact in this division race. He collected two RBI hits and scored another run. And of course, his two-run home run won Friday nights game.

Starting pitching report
Zito had been 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers this season, but Kemp was on the disabled list for one of those assignments and was 3 for 3 against him in the other.

A .449 career hitter in 49 at-bats, Kemp improved that average while doing damage with a two-run home run in the first inning.

Zito (8-7) didnt pay for another mistake until the fifth, when the Dodgers 7-8 hitters went single-double to start the inning and pitcher Chad Billingsley hit a sacrifice fly to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

The Giants tried to squeeze one more inning out of Zito, but Kemp led off with a single (he ended the day as a .462 hitter against the lefty). After Hanley Ramirez hit into a fielders choice, Jerry Hairston Jr. followed with a double to right field that wasnt easily corralled. The relay arrived at the plate ahead of Ramirez, but catcher Buster Posey was positioned so far in front of the dish that his swipe tag had no chance to prevent the run.

Zito ended up allowing four runs (all earned) on seven hits in 5 13 innings. For the third consecutive start, he issued just one walk. Overall, it was the kind of strike-throwing effort that the Giants hoped Zito could provide as the de facto No.5 starter.

The Giants are 10-10 in Zitos starts this season.

Bullpen report
The Giants found a more experienced upgrade to Emmanuel Burriss in Marco Scutaro. The club is seeking to do the same for right-hander George Kontos, who gave up a solo homer to A.J. Ellis along with consecutive doubles to Kemp and Ramirez in a three-run seventh inning.

Kemps fourth hit of the afternoon was a double off Brad Penny in a three-run ninth inning. Ramirez added another lo viste RBI single.

At the plate
Buster Posey doubled to start the second inning but the Giants couldnt even advance him with a productive out. The same thing happened when Angel Pagan took a risk with a three-run deficit and hustled a double to start the fifth. Brandon Belt took a called third strike and the next two batters grounded out.

The next inning, Aubrey Huff replaced Belt as part of a double-switch. In his first at-bats since June 10, he grounded out and struck out.

The Giants loaded the bases with three singles in the eighth, but Ryan Theriot grounded out.

They were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and are now hitting .188 with two outs and RISP for the season the second-worst mark in the major leagues, better than only the San Diego Padres.

Scutaro popped to short, grounded out to third and singled in his Giants debut.

In field
Shortstop Brandon Crawfords errorless streak ended at 30 games. He made his first miscue since June 17 at Seattle, dropping Ethiers spinning, one-hopper for what shouldve been the third out in the seventh inning. Kemp and Ramirez followed with doubles that put the game away.

Ethier made the highlight play of the game, racing back and crashing into the bricks while catching Melky Cabreras deep drive in the seventh inning.

Scutaro, playing third base for the first time since 2008, handled all his chances without incident.

The Giants announced 42,030 paid. Give em time to pick up the old Scutaro chant that used to echo through the Coliseum.

Up next
The Giants and Dodgers complete their three-game series in Sunday as Ryan Vogelsong (8-4, 2.26) tries to outpitch left-hander Clayton Kershaw (7-6, 3.14) for the third time this season. After Sunday, the two clubs still have nine more games remaining in their season series: Aug. 20-22 at LA, Sept. 7-9 at SF and Oct. 1-3 at LA in the final three games of the year.

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role


Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

SAN FRANCISCO -- A familiar face is returning to the Giants organization to serve a key front office role.

The Giants announced Friday that David Bell, their former third baseman, has been hired as Vice President of Player Development. General manager Bobby Evans said Bell will oversee all aspects of player development, including hitting, pitching, strength and conditioning and the operations of the minor league affiliates. 

"He was the perfect fit," Evans said. "His experience is so strong and encompasses so many aspects of the game. He’s got a really strong base of experience and background and understanding of the game, and he has a passion for the game and working with young players. He really showed a desire to pursue this opportunity." 

Bell, 45, played 12 major league seasons and spent 2002 with the Giants. He hit 20 homers that year as the starting third baseman and scored the winning run in the final game of the NLCS. Since retiring, Bell has served as a minor league manager for the Reds and a big league coach for the Cubs and Cardinals. He spent last season as the bench coach in St. Louis. 

Shane Turner had previously served as farm director, but at the end of the minor league season he was asked to take a role as a special assistant in baseball operations. While Evans did not announce any other changes Friday, there are expected to be other moves within the organization's depth chart. At least one member of the coaching staff is still in the running for a managerial opening. 

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered


Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

Firing a manager is easy, and there are lots of ways to do it.

Dusty Baker, for example. He worked this year on the last year of a contract, which usually means there won’t be another one, and he relied on his players to deliver the goods.

Which, as we remember from our reading, they didn’t do. Again.

But Baker was marked for the chop unless those players did deliver, and when they didn’t, general manager Mike Rizzo did the expedient thing.

He fired one person rather than several. And changed exactly nothing.

Baker’s managerial career is probably over now, as most teams don’t look at 68-year-olds to fix their teams. He will never manage a  World Series champion, something he ached for, and he was always be caricatured in part as the guy who didn’t speak metric, and who believed in players as men whenever in doubt.

And the Nats didn’t betray him, either. They were always not as good in the big moments because someone else was, and they became part of Washington’s new fetish – Why Can’t We Win One? It’s as if having a cringeworthy President isn’t good enough for them.

So the time came, and he will be replaced by someone who will either win and get credit for work that was largely his, or he won’t win and the town can continue to wallow in its tedious We’re-The-New-Cubs pity. It is the circle of life.

At least it is for groups of people. For individuals, the circle of life is actually nothing more than a straight line that ends abruptly. For Dusty Baker, as it did for Tony La Russa in Phoenix two days earlier, that day came today. He deserves to be remembered as a very good manager who won a lot more than he lost, made more friends than enemies, and was honest from Day One until the end.

Which, as we also know, doesn’t matter a whole lot on days like this.