Okay, so this afternoon's Dodgers-Giants game didn't look so important unless you're passionate about one or the other of those teams. The Giants are in great shape in the West, and the Dodgers are a shell of a franchise.
Still, it's the Giants and Dodgers; just seeing them on the field at the same time gives even this native Midwesterner a mild tingle every time. Also, one of this afternoon's starting pitchers was Tim Lincecum. One of this afternoon's starting pitchers was also 10-4 with a 2.88 ERA, numbers that qualify him as a legitimate Cy Young candidate.
Oddly, those are different starting pitchers; the Cy Young candidate is Clayton Kershaw.
Lincecum's pitched well this season, of course. Though just 8-7, his ERA (2.99) is just a tick higher than Kershaw's.
But Kershaw's pitched more innings, struck out more hitters, and walked fewer. Lincecum's only edge is home runs; he's allowed only seven round-trippers this season, compared to 10 for Kershaw.
It's obviously too early to suggest that Kershaw's actually the better pitcher. What we can say is that Kershaw, after showing flashes of brilliance in his first three seasons with the Dodgers, has now arrived as one of the National League's premier pitchers. Oh, and he's still only 23.
Note: According to Hank Schulman, the Giants are trying to beat the Dodgers in seven straight games for the first time since 1937-1938.
Postscript: The Giants did not beat the Dodgers. Thanks to Kershaw's eight shutout innings -- three hits, one walks, 12 strikeouts -- the Dodgers beat the Giants 1-0, with Lincecum a tough-luck loser once more.