The Dodgers’ opening shutout streak was fun while it lasted . . .

Hunter Pence and Company

Hunter Pence and Company: Joe Panik (12), Denard Span (2) and Angel Pagan (16) greet Pence as he finishes his grand slam circuit . . .

All good things must come to an end, even in baseball. But so must all bad things, in due course. For the San Diego Padres, the latter can’t happen soon enough. For the Los Angeles Dodgers, the former happened a little too soon for comfort.

The Padres at this writing remain in search of their first run of the season. Presumably, they’ll take it any way they can get it when they meet the Colorado Rockies this weekend. Preferably right out of the chute, just to have done with it.

No tomorrow for Mr. Amaro

Ruben Amaro, Jr.

Amaro, whom Phillies fans probably think should have been cashiered last winter at minimum . . .

In Italian, amaro refers to a bittersweet liqueur, used customarily as an after-dinner cordial, whose origins may have been in monasteries. Well, now. One day after the Phillies were eliminated mathematically from the postseason, Ruben Amaro, Jr. may wish he’d been in a monastery rather than the Phillies’ front office from which he’s just been canned.

This kind of Bumming around the Royals don’t need . . .

Bumgarner's traveling in seriously historic World Series company . . .

Bumgarner’s traveling in seriously historic World Series company . . .

We’ve learned two more things from Game Five. Thing one: Madison Bumgarner is traveling in the World Series company of Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling, Whitey Ford, and Lefty Grove. Thing two: H-D-H, or at least H and D, are only human, too.

Bumgarner pitched a masterpiece of a shutout Sunday night, Kelvim Herrera left first and second for Wade Davis in the eighth only to see them score on Juan Perez’s fat-the-calf double, and the San Francisco Giants put themselves on the threshold of becoming the second team other than the Boston Red Sox to collect three World Series rings in the 21st century.

Madison’s Avenue

Madison Avenue wasn't a friendly mile for the Royals in Game One . . .

Madison Avenue wasn’t a friendly mile for the Royals in Game One . . .

Some put it this way: The Kansas City Royals only have to win four out of the next six games, and they may only have to deal with Madison Bumgarner in the fourth of the six, if the World Series gets that far in the first place. Makes it sound simple enough, right? All they have to do otherwise is keep the San Francisco Giants from swarming forth right out of the chute.

Molina down, the Cardinals may have lost in winning Game Two

Tie an NLCS but lose your team backbone? Not an encouraging trade as Molina (center) walks off in serious pain . . .

Tie an NLCS but lose your team backbone? Not an encouraging trade as Molina (center) walks off in serious pain . . .

At what cost will the St. Louis Cardinals’ National League Championship Series-evening win Sunday night prove to have come? As great as it looked when Kolten Wong ended the game with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth, that’s about how horrible it looked when another swing earlier in the game sent Yadier Molina out of the game—and out of who who knew what else—with an oblique strain.

The Giants give the Pirates the Bum’s rush out

You may not want to address him as Bum these days . . .

You may not want to address him as Bum these days . . .

Sorry to disappoint you. It’s not that Madison Bumgarner’s Wednesday night masterpiece was anything resembling boring, but that masterpiece plus the Giants’ bludgeoning of the Pirates in the National League’s wild card game wasn’t exactly the kind of hair raiser the Royals and the Athletics raised up the night before.

They might not be Giants, after all

Bumgarner: Don't blame him.

Bumgarner: Don’t blame him.

At this writing, the defending world champion San Francisco Giants—as in, the twice-in-three-years-defending champs—are in a dogfight with the Colorado Rockies for the National League West’s sewer. Adding insult to further insult, the Giants were eliminated mathematically from postseason contention on 11 September. And the Giants’ ignominious collapse from the top of the heap to the bottom of the sea has been what the conspiracy theorists seem to wish the original 9/11 atrocity was, an inside job.

Too Late Tigers, Too Much Giants

Arrivederci Romo and Ring Around the Posey whoop it up with a Series sweep . . .

“We could not find our game in the World Series,” Miguel Cabrera mourned, while the San Francisco Giants partied heartily in Comerica Park’s visiting clubhouse. Actually, the Detroit Tigers found their game in Game Four, when they needed it most. The problem was finding it against these San Francisco Giants, who were so accustomed to playing with elimination a game away they didn’t know how to get comfortable on the threshold of a sweep.

So Far, All Giants, Big and Small

Who’s a bum?

Now, this is a novel position for the San Francisco Giants to assume. They’re not used to being up two games to none in a postseason set this year. This could be the start of something . . . weird?

The way they got into this position was probably weird enough even by the standards of a Giants team that’s spent at least half this postseason benefitting from the transdimensional. Can you remember any team winning a World Series game with nothing but a double play and a sacrifice fly to score the only two runs they proved necessary?

Vogelsong’s Serenade

Seven virtuoso innings, a sweet Vogelsong for the Giants . . .

Two teams who’ve made a fine art of shoving back with their backs against the proverbial wall returned to San Francisco to square off in Game Six of the National League Championship Series Sunday night. This time, it was the San Francisco Giants with their backs to that wall—again—and a pitcher who’d gone from prospect to reclamation project making certain enough that the St. Louis Cardinals joined them in the same position for a seventh game.