Could the Dodgers be surging in June again ? Last year they were cellar dwellers 9.5 games out of first place on June 22nd. They would then win 42-out-of-50 and the rest is history. If somehow the Dodgers find their way back to the top of the NL West they may have a San Francisco Giants broadcaster to thank for it.
Just ten days ago (June 8) the Los Angeles Dodgers were languishing 9.5 games back of the scintillatingly hot San Francisco Giants. The Giants could no wrong. It didn’t matter what kinds of miscues they made through the first 9 weeks of the season. Every mistake WAS NOT magnified as the Giants just found a way to win every single night. They found a way to win every single day. The game of baseball was their friend. Many well-known pundits, including Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY, declared the National League West race over. They said even if the Dodgers got hot, they wouldn’t be able to catch the Giants.
All of the reasons cited were valid. The Dodgers defense is bad, and at times atrocious. The Los Angeles bullpen has been disappointing. Inconsistency from the likes of Brian Wilson, Chris Perez, JP Howell and even closer Kenley Jansen have hampered this teams’ chances of keeping clubs in check.
The Dodgers also don’t have any worker-bees. Think about it. There aren’t many grinders on this ball club. Hitters who will wear a pitch, grind out an at-bat, foul off two-strike pitches for the sole purpose of driving up a starter’s pitch count. Last year’s club had Skip Schumaker, Nick Punto, Mark Ellis. These types of players have great value when a team is struggling. They have a penchant for willing a team out of funk. So, as I witnessed this vast array of issues it wasn’t surprised me they were scuffling. It was still frustrating beyond belief. I found myself starting to agree with the pundits.
“The Dodgers may make a run, but they won’t have enough to catch the Giants.”
Then, something crazy happened, and in my mind, it changed everything. I know it’s going to sound funny, superstitious and just plain odd but hear me out. I was watching the Giants play the Mets on Saturday June 7th. The Giants had trailed the entire game, but here they were a base hit away from ANOTHER come-from-behind walk-off win. Almost on cue Michael Morse would flip a single into right field and the Giants would win another game in a walk-off. And then, it happened.
Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow in his glee and joy and happiness uttered six words that immediately caught my attention. As the Giants were jumping around and mobbing Morse, Krukow interjected.
“All the Giants do is win.”
“What did he say?” I thought. Did he really just say THAT ? Any ballplayer worth his salt knows you don’t mess with a winning streak. As Crash Davis said, “respect the streak.” This bold statement by Krukow, for this superstitious Dodger fan was like manna from heaven. It was something I could grasp, hold onto. Krukow had just proclaimed that the Giants simply can only win. “ALL THE GIANTS DO IS WIN.”
The Giants would move to a season high 21 games over .500 with a come from behind 6-4 win over the Mets on Sunday, but the damage had been done. Since that statement, the Giants are 2-8. Their 9.5 game lead has been whittled down to 4.5 games, and if the Dodgers hang on to this 7-0 lead in the 3rd inning with Clayton Kershaw on the mound, it will be down to 4 games.
Some of you will say my sanity needs to be checked, but for those of you that have ever played the game competitively and played it at a high level, you know there is no one more superstitious than baseball players.
When I was 17 playing Legion ball in Alameda I went on a crazy hitting streak. Seven straight multi-hit games. It was a laser show (apologies to Dustin Pedroia) I refused to wash my Kirby Puckett hitting shirt I wore under my uniform. The shirt was rank. It was disgusting. The stench was dizzying. But, I didn’t wash it until I went hitless. Never mess with good fortune on the diamond. Some will not see Krukow’s comments as having any bearing on the Giants June Swoon. That is fine. Krukow spit into the wind. He tugged on Superman’s cape and he messed around with Jim. And since his declaration, the Dodgers have played better, the Giants have played worse and the Dodgers are six innings away from only being 4 games back.
You don’t have to believe it, but it makes perfect sense to me.
Oh, Giants fans, the June Swoon is real. The Big Dodger in the Sky tells me so.