Giants Appear ‘Rocky’ Against the Rockies

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DENVER, COLORADO – AUGUST 03: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies celebrates after hitting a 2 RBI home run in the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field on August 03, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The Giants began their three-team road trip on Monday against the Rockies. Historically, Coors Field has been a house of horrors for the Giants regardless of talent. This series would be no different.

Game One

The Giants aren’t expected to do much in 2020. That doesn’t make a series like this four-game set any easier to swallow. The team rumbled into Colorado off a series win over the Rangers. They were a .500 team with a near 20% chance of making the playoffs according to Fangraphs. Johnny Cueto took the bump for game one of the series and cruised through five innings and the Giants were leading 4-1 going into the sixth. Then it all collapsed.

Cueto came back out for the sixth and immediately gave up a single to Blackmon along with a two-run home run to Nolan Arenado. Wandy Peralta then came in to replace Cueto and didn’t fare much better. Peralta would manage to get two outs while giving up four hits and three runs. Shaun Anderson would give up another run in the eighth. The Giants come back effort would fall short and they lost 7-6. Furthermore, the Giants committed two errors that both converted to runs. A theme of the 2020 season, as the Giants have committed the most errors in MLB by a landslide.

On the bright side, Chadwick Tromp hit his second career home run to dead center field. Yaz continued to murder the baseball hitting his third home run. Dickerson also joined the home run brigade with his second. Wilmer Flores went two for three with a double and a run scored. Caleb Barager and Rico Garcia pitched a combined 1.1 scoreless innings.

Game Two

The second game of the series was a worse version of the first one. The Giants committed three errors all of which would come back to bite them. Kevin Gausman pitched well going 5.1 innings, allowing five hits and four runs, three of those earned.

The Giants bullpen was solid, pitching 2.2 frames allowing only an unearned run. However, the Giants couldn’t hit for any power as they spread around seven hits. Only one of which was an extra-base hit, a double by Duggar that hit the top of the wall. The Giants were stifled most of the night by German Marquez who threw 7.1 innings giving up two earned runs and striking out nine.

There were a few bright spots for the Giants. Steven Duggar got his first hit of 2020 and just missed a three-run home run. Tony Watson threw a scoreless 2/3 of an inning. Connor Menez gave up an unearned run but was otherwise terrific. Sam Selman also pitched a scoreless frame. It’s safe to say the Giants have found some bullpen pieces to play with.

Game Three

The third game of the series would be the only victory for the Giants in this four-game set. They were backed by an outstanding performance from Logan Webb, who pitched five innings of one-run baseball while striking out four. Webb did give up a second unearned run, that once again came from an error (theme?).

The Giants bullpen was solid once again as the lone run scored was a solo home run given up by Tony Watson to Nolan Arenado. Caleb Barager, Tyler Rogers, and Trevor Gott all pitched scoreless frames. Gott is starting to look like he will be the Giants closer for the foreseeable future as he blew through the Rockies with ease.

Brandon Belt led the hitters in this game as he would have two of the Giants seven hits. The big one being a three-run home run that would give the Giants the lead for good in the fourth inning. That was Belt’s first home run of the season.

Game Four

The final game of the series hurt the most. The game was a pitcher’s duel. Tyler Anderson was brilliant mixing a 90-mph fastball with a devastating 82-mph change-up. He held the Rockies scoreless through five brilliant innings. Kyle Freeland did the same for the Rockies pitching through five scoreless frames.

Everything changed in the sixth. Wandy Peralta came in to replace Anderson and immediately gave up a solo home run to Trevor Story. Kyle Freeland returned to the mound for the Rockies in the seventh and retired the first two hitters with ease. However, a chink in the armor began to show when Sandoval and Solano hit back to back singles. Bud Black, the Rockies manager, then visited the mound to pull his pitcher but decided against it. Mauricio Dubon then proceeded to hit a massive three-run home run to left field that was a no-doubter.

The lead was four to one entering the bottom of the seventh when the Giants bullpen collapsed once again. The very same bullpen that had been a strength to this point in the season. Rico Garcia gave up three runs and didn’t record an out. Caleb Barager followed him up by giving up two runs recording only two outs and the comeback would once again fall short. On the bright side, game-four was the only game of the series that the Giants did not commit an error.

Takeaways for the Giants

There are a few takeaways Giants fans should glean from this Coors Field series. The first thing that stood out was the Giants starting pitching. After not pitching into the fifth inning once prior to the final game of the Rangers series, all four starters pitched into the fifth. The Giant’s starters would pitch 20.1 innings over the four-game set. In those innings, they gave up six earned runs and three unearned runs. The bullpen would give up ten earned runs and two unearned runs over the remaining 15.2 innings. The bullpen has been pretty good to this point and Coors is a tough place to pitch. That being said, the Giants need better performances from their bullpen against the Dodgers.

Furthermore, the Giants committed six errors across the four games with the Rockies. Those numbers don’t truly recognize the exasperating nature of the Giant’s defense. Nothing is easy, everything is in slow motion, and there were many mental mistakes. Their defensive issues are fixable, but they better fix them fast, as they are running out of time.

The silver lining is that the offense for the Giants keeps producing. Brandon Belt had an OPS of 1.000 over the four-game set. Chadwick Tromp sported an OPS of 1.583. Wilmer Flores also raked his way to a 1.071 OPS. The team as a whole produced a measly .647 OPS but they were quite unlucky with a BABIP of .252.

Furthermore, the Giants began the four-game series in Colorado with a 19.9% chance of making the playoffs according to Fangraphs. They now head to Los Angeles with just an 11.4% chance.

Next Series

The Giants begin their three-game set at Dodger Stadium on Friday at 6:40 P.M. (PT). The probable starting pitchers are Jeff Samardzija for the Giants and Julio Urias for the Dodgers.

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Sports Writer for Overtime Heroics workkng on the beat for NFL and MLB.