Results tagged ‘ Colorado Rockies ’
MoreSplashHits tweeted, rather tongue-in-check, that since Hunter Pence joined the game, the San Francisco Giants have averaged better than seven runs a game.
That has a lot more to do with weak Colorado Rockies pitchers than anything Pence has done.
Pence is 2 for 17 since joining the Giants. For what it’s worth, Carlos Beltran also went 2 for 17 to start his tenure with the Giants last season.
But Pence has produce a positive contribution. With Pence hitting in the No. 5 hole, it made it easier for manager Bruce Bochy to put Angel Pagan back in the leadoff spot.
It’s clear now that the best Giants outfield is Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence. So if that’s the case, who is the best leadoff option?
Marco Scutaro, who started there on Thursday? Hardly.
It’s Pagan. And in this series in Colorado, Pagan has responded.
Pagan went 4 for 6 with two runs, three RBI, a home run and a stolen base in Saturday’s win over the Rockies. This followed Friday’s game when he went 3 for 4 with four runs and two walks.
That makes him 7 for 10 with two walks in two games in his return to the leadoff spot.
The big question now is whether this is a Colorado-aided offensive spurt and the start of something big for Pagan.
We all know how hot Pagan can get. His 21-game hitting streak earlier this year is evidence of that. But we’ve also seen the flip side to that streaky side.
But the Giants have put up 27 runs in two games with Pagan at the top of the order. We’ll gladly take that as long as we can get it.
And it might not have happened if the Giants hadn’t added Hunter Pence.
For the second game in a row, the Giants have pounded out double-digit runs and hits. But again, the Giants have received a lot of help from the Rockies.
Wilin Rosario, a catcher by trade, was inserted into the game at third base — a byproduct of having only four position players on their bench. In the eighth inning, the move may have cost the Rockies four runs.
After Brandon Belt led of the inning with a double, Pagan singled to left. Carlos Gonzalez appeared to have a shot at throwing Belt out at the plate until Rosario cut off the throw. Rosario then made it worse by trying to throw a relay home, which sailed wide and allowed Pagan to take second.
Then Pagan very unwisely attempted to steal third. He might have been thrown out except Rosario caught the ball but whiffed on the tag.
Then Ryan Theriot hit a ball down the third-base line that Rosario was unable to glove. It was a play a normal third baseman likely makes.
That led to a four-run eighth.
But if Rosario doesn’t cut off CarGo’s throw, actually tags Pagan and gloves Theriot’s grounder, that would have added up to three outs and no runs.
The Giants will go for the sweep with Tim Lincecum on the mound. Lincecum will face Travis Chatwood, who will be called up from Double-A to fill the spot of Christian Friedrich, who was placed on the DL.
We thought a little Jonathan Sanchez and Coors Field could get the Giants’ hitters out of their recent slump.
Well, you would think that 16 runs on 16 hits would validate that claim.
But Friday’s offensive outburst had less to do with Sanchez and more to do with the Rockies’ bullpen and the Rockies’ ability to give the Giants runs.
The Giants worked 67 pitches from Sanchez in three innings of work, but only got two runs on three hits and three walks. Sanchez actually saw his ERA drop slightly after Friday’s outing as one of the two runs he allowed was unearned.
But the Giants scored more runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings (13) than they did in seven of their previous eight games.
The eighth inning was the best example of how the Giants were aided by the Rockies.
The Giants loaded the bases on a single, error and infield single. A Ryan Theriot single scored one. The two wild pitches scored two more runs. The second wild pitch allowed Melky Cabrera to reach base on a walk.
Then Buster Posey unleashed a three-run home run for a six-run inning.
There was good stats from the offense, however:
- Angel Pagan reached base five times, going 3 for 4 with a double, triple, four runs and two walks.
- Theriot was 2 for 5 with three runs and two RBI.
- Posey was 4 for 5 with three RBI and a walk.
- Hunter Pence got his first hit as a Giants after starting 0 for 9.
- All nine starters collected at least one hit, including a double by Ryan Vogelsong.
That seventh-inning double by Vogelsong may have sapped him of some energy.
After allowing one hit in the first six innings, Vogelsong allowed three hits to the first four batters of the seventh inning — two doubles and a triple that resulted to two runs.
Manager Bruce Bochy left him in to face Wilin Rosario, who hooked a two-run homer just inside the left-field foul pole.
That snapped Vogelsong’s streak of 16 quality starts to open the season and he finished by allowing four runs on five hits in 6.1 innings.
It’s a good start to the road trip and kept the Giants ahead of the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, who both won Friday.
Now they need to keep it up as Madison Bumgarner takes to the hill Saturday against Jeff Francis.
MoreSplashHits goes on vacation, and so do the Giants hitters.
From the day we left for vacation, the Giants went 2-7, all home games.
What’s worse is that the Giants only scored more more than three runs in one of those game — a 4-1 win over the Mets on Tuesday.
The only good thing about this bad stretch is that the Giants (56-49) are still in first place in the NL West, leading the Dodgers (56-50) by a half-game.
The bad news is the Giants have allowed the Diamondbacks (54-51) back into division race. Arizona trails by only two games. AND the Giants are now four games out of the second NL wild-card spot, trailing the Pirates (60-44) and Braves (60-45).
The Giants hope the light air in Colorado will help get the bats going. If there is one NL West team that has been playing worse than the Giants (3-7) over the past 10 games, it’s the Rockies (2-8).
The three-game series gets started Friday with a reunion. Jonathan Sanchez, who was traded last month from Kansas City to Colorado will get the start for the Rockies Friday against Ryan Vogelsong.
Sanchez has seen his ERA actually go up since his trade from the Royals. It has gone from 7.76 to 8.93. He’s 0-7 this season.
In his two starts for Colorado, he has given up 11 earned runs on 14 hits in 8.1 innings, with eight Ks and six walks.
Sanchez has clearly been trying to throw more strikes, but that has left more hittable pitches. It’s a perfect combination for the free-swinging Giants.
Sanchez has given up at least four earned runs in each of his last six starts.
If the Giants can’t get the bats started IN COLORADO and against JONATHAN SANCHEZ, it’s time to get worried.
Colorado Rockies 5, San Francisco Giants 4: Defense lets Tim Lincecum down, and that’s OK with Bruce Bochy
Tim Lincecum got somewhat lost amid the late-game theatrics in Tuesday’s loss to the Rockies.
Lincecum’s final line was nothing to write home about — four runs on seven hits and three walks in seven innings. Yet through five innings, Lincecum was very good, allowing just one run on three hits and one walk.
He retired the side in order in the first two innings, striking out three. He did not allow his first hit until the fourth inning.
But things rapidly went awry in the sixth with Angel Pagan’s foolish decision to attempt a shoe-string catch on Troy Tulowitzki’s liner to center.
Instead of playing the ball on a hop for a single, Pagan tried to make a lunging catch. But the ball went under his glove and all the way to the center-field wall for a single and a two-base error. If Tulowitzki weren’t so hobbled by a bruise foot sustained Tuesday, he would have easily rounded the bases and scored. Instead, he simply jogged to third.
Ever the apologist, manager Bruce Bochy gave Pagan a pass.
“That’s part of the game when you’re hopefully playing aggressive,” Bochy said. “I don’t want these guys to go the other way. I probably would have felt worse if he had backed off and caught it on one hop there if he had a chance to catch it. And he was pretty close to catching that.”
OK, there’s a difference between playing aggressively and playing smart. The Giants need to play smart, and they need a manager who understands that.
First, as a center fielder with a ball hit directly at you, you have to know that if you miss it that will lead to big, BIG trouble because it’s unlikely someone will be there to back you up. It’s much different on a ball hit to either gap, when either the left or right fielder could be in position to back you up.
Also, the situation dictates how you play that. If there’s a runner on third with two outs and the liner to center is hit, yeah, be aggressive. Try to catch the ball to prevent the run.
But this was with one out and no one on. Then it becomes a risk-reward situation. You could A) catch the ball for an out; B) play the ball on a hop for a one-out single to a slow-moving baserunner who will clog up the basepaths; or C) miss the catch and potentially turn it into a four-base play.
The smart play is to play it on a hop and trust that Lincecum can work around the one-out single … like he had done previously in the game.
Instead, there’s a runner on third with one out. So Lincecum pitches around Todd Helton for his second walk, trying to set up a double play. He gets Michael Cuddyer to hit a grounder, but it’s right over the third-base bag for a double, scoring Tulowitzki.
Then Lincecum walks Ramon Hernandez to load the bases. Lincecum gets Jordan Pacheco to hit a fly to shallow center, which should have afforded Pagan a chance to throw out the slow-footed Helton. But Pagan’s throw is nowhere near the plate, and Helton scores.
Pagan’s aggrssiveness led to two runs being scored. It led to two of Lincecum’s three walks (which were basically intentional). It led to a stressful inning that caused Lincecum’s pitch count to mount. And it led to Lincecum to wonder what he needs to do to pitch better when in fact, he did his job.
But apparently all of that is perfectly fine with Bochy.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Aubrey Huff was getting closer to start.
Well, not with Gregor Blanco around.
Blanco went 3 for 4 Monday, with two hits that didn’t leave the infield and one hit that left the yard.
Blanco’s solo shot to right in the sixth — and it was no cheapy — got the Giants on the board, and his infield single to leadoff the eighth sparked a two-run rally.
“I was trying to hit a line drive through the middle and it worked out better,” Blanco said of his home run.
It led to happy ending that didn’t look evident when things started — nor the way it ended.
The Giants could not figure out Colorado rookie left-hander Christian Friedrich early on. The Giants, who have the fewest strikeouts in the NL, whiffed six times their first time through the lineup.
Blanco’s first infield single to lead off the fourth would be the team’s first hit. They would finish with 10.
In the ninth, after RBI singles by Buster Posey and Brett Pill in the eighth gave the Giants a 3-1 lead, the Rockies put two runners on with one out against Santiago Casilla.
Casilla looked to get out of the inning when Marco Scutaro hit a hard grounder third baseman Joaquin Arias, setting up a potential game-inning double play. Instead, Arias let it get by him for an error, allowing the Rockies to cut the margin to 3-1 and put runners on second and third with one out.
But Casilla struck out Dexter Fowler, and after an intentional walk to Carlos Gonzalez, Arias redeemed himself by making a nice play on a slow chopper by Chris Nelson to end the game.
- P Ryan Vogelsong regrouped from a rough start when he struggled with his control. He walked five, but finished seven innings by giving up one run on three hits.
- C Buster Posey went 2 for 4 as he tried to break out of a recent slump.
- An interesting late move. 2B Charlie Culberson was replaced in the ninth by 2B Emmanuel Burriss, we presume for defensive purposes.
Tim Lincecum returns to the mound at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday to face Jeremy Guthrie, who will make his first since coming off the DL. Lincecum may face a Troy Tulowitzki-less lineup. Tulowitzki injured his ankle when he was hit by a foul ball by teammate while sitting in the dugout. Tulowitzki tried to continue but was eventually pulled for a pinch-runner. We’d be surprise to see him in the lineup Tuesday.
The Giants are heading home with a win, and a severe case of the Willies.
After Madison Bumgarner pitched 7 1/3 stellar innings, Brian Wilson recorded his first save of the year with a heavy dose of drama.
“It’s not like I want to pitch in that situation,” Wilson said. “But when I do, I feel like I’ve been more successful than not.”
I guess that’s true. But we’d gladly take a 1-2-3 inning.
Wilson’s ninth-inning adventure began with a double by Troy Tulowitzki followed by an infield single by Michael Cuddyer when Brandon Crawford smothered the ball but could not throw out Cuddyer.
Wilson threw a 94-mph fastball past Wilin Rosario for strike three and the first out.
Jason Giambi singled to right to load the bases, then Todd Helton smoked a liner right at Emmaunel Burriss for the second out.
Then on a 1-0 pitch to Tyler Colvin, Wilson turned his ankle. Trainer Dave Groeschner came out and Wilson threw a warmup pitch before declaring that he was fine.
“No big deal,” Wilson said. “It’s really nothing, just one of those things they have to check in — a non-issue.”
But radar gun said something different, as Wilson strained to get his fastball to reach 90 mph the rest of the inning.
He walked Colvin to make it 4-2. Marco Scutaro worked the count to 2-2 before flying out to Nate Schierholtz in right to end the game.
“It’s Willy’s way,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Bochy added that, with Wilson throwing back-to-back days and laboring through a 32-pitch inning, that The Beard would likely not be used in Friday’s home opener against the Pirates.
In the end, the late drama almost overshadowed an outstanding effort from Bumgarner, who bounced back nicely from a rough opener last week in Arizona.
He gave up one run on four hits and two walks.
Even though the Giants score four runs for the sixth time in six games this season, it was pitching that supplied their two wins — first from Zito and Bumgarner.
“It’s our game,” Bochy said. “It’s what we count on. It means you have a chance to win the game.”
And the pitching as a whole should be better at home, as the Giants open a six-game homestead Friday.
“We’ve been on the road so much,” Bochy said. “The guys have dealt with it great. But it’s time to go home and get settled in our ballpark.”
- Melky Cabrera went 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI as he continues to swing a hot bat, hitting .385.
- After a slow start, Brandon Crawford is heating up. He went 2 for 4 with a double and run scored and now is hitting .261.
- Two players who are not heating up: Angel Pagan (.130) and Ryan Theriot (.125). They may both be sitting on Friday (we can only hope).
Matt Cain gets the call for the home opener against James McDonald and the Pirates at 1:30 p.m. Friday at AT&T Park. That is, if the game is played. Thunder storms rolled through the Bay Area Thursday night and Friday’s forecast calls for more and a 100 percent chance of rain.
We came pretty close on a predicted lineup Thursday, so we’ll take another shot at it for Friday. Our lone doubt is the leadoff spot and whether or not Bochy has the stones (or brains) to sit Pagan on the home opener.
CF Gregor Blanco
RF Melky Cabrera
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Buster Posey
LF Aubrey Huff
1B Brandon Belt
SS Brandon Crawford
2B Emmanuel Burriss
P Matt Cain
The rest of the series goes:
Pirates (TBA) vs. Giants (Zito), 6:05 p.m. Saturday
Pirates (Correia) vs. Giants (Vogelsong), 1:05 p.m. Sunday