Tonight was the 100th time the Giants have lost at Coors Field. When you sit back and think about it, that's a minor miracle, isn't it? Doesn't it feel like there have been hundreds of losses a mile high? In any case, the last days of Jake Peavy against a young and hungry Rockies lineup resulted in the platonic ideal of a Rockies beatdown of the Giants at Coors Field. The perfect 100th loss.
The best play made by a starting pitcher in tonight's game was the perfect bunt Jake Peavy laid down in the third inning to advance two runners. Every other play belonged to the offenses on either side, but especially Nolan Arenado's bat and glove. He was 4-for-5 with a career-high 7 RBI. Like most of his teammates, everything his bat touched sounded like Thor's hammer colliding with Captain America's shield. But his night stood out. Really, any time the Giants face the Rockies, he's the standout. In 52 games and 206 at bats, he has 65 hits, 16 of which are home runs, and 45 RBI. Tonight, he was better than the entire Giants roster.
It'd be easy to sulk and be jealous of the young talent the Rockies can plug into that starting lineup, but really only if you were such a twerp and misanthrope that you completely ignore the firepower the Giants brought with them to Coors. Unfortunately, the Giants' offense could not survive the cataclysmically terrible pitching they rolled out tonight. Every time the Rockies looked like they were going to break it open, the offense kept them close. Until the Rockies finally broke it open.
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It's only two starts and it's still early enough in the season (but not *too* early) that it's not worth saying much about Jake Peavy's performance so far beyond that he's been pretty bad (last Thursday) and a Cronenbergian fusion of Mark Gardner and Todd Wellemeyer (tonight). I mean, if you're looking to make some grand statement about his career going forward, you'll probably still need another start or two to ground the opinion in something substantive.
Peavy had 5 strikeouts, so there's something still there. He managed to pump two 89mph strikeouts past Trevor Story in the 4th inning. His fastball velocity never topped that, though, and everything else he threw settled in the middle of the plate. And he says he feels fine. Maybe this won't be the status quo for every Jake Peavy start, but you'd be forgiven for feeling otherwise, because
We've been down this road before. There are abandoned cars on either side of it. The lane markers need to be repainted. The asphalt looks how Tom Waits sounds. We can hope that the situation improves if we just drive far enough, but there's every chance this road leads straight off a cliff. Jake Peavy could be on his way out the door long before the season ends. It wouldn't be a surprise. Tonight wasn't a night to simply shrug off. Combined with his first start, it's enough to cause alarm. But it's also the second week of April.
Still... if you really want to hold onto that party line -- "it's still early!" -- at least consider that the best play Jake Peavy made tonight was a perfect bunt to advance two runners in the third inning. Okay, that and the 5 strikeouts. Coming into tonight's game, 35% of the hits Jake Peavy allowed in his career were extra base hits (doubles, triples, and HRs). Tonight, 10 of the 11 hits he allowed were extra base hits: 6 doubles, 3 triples, and 1 home run. The 10 extra base hits in a single game is a new SF Giants record for a pitcher. The previous record was 8. And the team overall allowed 12 extra base hits for the first time in over 75 years.
In the first inning alone he allowed two triples and a double. He faced 23 batters all told, and outside of those 5 strikeouts, really didn't look like he had any business being on the mound. In fact, Jake Peavy versus left-handed batters seems like an insanely bad idea going forward. He doesn't have the power fastball to work with and his slider and changeup are such that he doesn't really have a margin for error.
It's too early to say that he's done, but it's not too early to consider it.
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Trevor Brown kept up his hot hitting with a scorched double and later a single. He also nabbed a base stealer in the 5th inning. This is all very good news to cover potentially bad news, as Buster Posey is going to sit this entire series with a foot injury that appears to be healing at a pace that's slower than expected.
Trevor Brown may not be a long-term solution for anybody, but a capable backup he just might be. But you don't bank on the capable backup. The capable backup prevents you from panicking. The capable backup does not prevent you from feeling that tinge of fear you feel when the best player on your team might not be available for a while.
Posey was all smiles in the dugout tonight and the Giants are likely just being ridiculously cautious this early in the season, but teams frequently downplay the severity of injuries and sometimes it's difficult to err on the side of "everything's fine!" after a night at Coors Field.
Come back, Buster Posey.
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20 of Josh Osich's 30 pitches in the eighth inning were absolutely agonizing to watch. The early season experiment to see if he can capably fill Jeremy Affeldt's split-free left-handed reliever role really blew up in Dr. Bochy's face today. With luck, this will be the negative outlier you toss out when drawing your conclusions. There's nothing in Osich's repertoire that automatically rules him out of this possible role, either. He even has Affeldt's penchant for DFA-worthy command.
But the mid-90s fastball will play. We've seen it play. And his slider works, too. He absolutely dominated Carlos Gonzlaez in the 8th inning. Unfortunately, he couldn't locate the pitches where he needed to and once again George Kontos came into a game.
The broadcast talked about how well-rested the Giants pen was coming into tonight, but between tonight and possibly tomorrow night (Matt Cain has a career 4.45 ERA at Coors Field, but it's still unclear if Matt Cain is back to being MATT CAIN) that luxury might be gone.
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Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, and Matt Duffy all had tricky plays today. And in Panik's case, two tricky plays. It's an unfairly fast infield they've got there in Coors. But it's one that Arenado has mastered. His wizardry really upstaged the pride of the Giants today. He was singlehandedly better than the entire team offensively and defensively.
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Matt Duffy is scuffling right now. He's lunging at pitches and doesn't seem as settled in the box as we've seen him before. It's possible he needs to make an adjustment to his approach or figure out a way to absorb the bad luck of baseball better. This is the part of the game I thought we caught a glimpse of last season: his ability to adjust.
But it's April and he's not coming in to replace somebody and the Giants are very much a competitor, so the stakes and context are a bit different than they were for him in 2015. We're either going to learn something new or have our suspicions confirmed about Matt Duffy in the next few weeks.
I'm sorry to do this to you, Matt Duffy, but I'm optimistic that you will be just fine.
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It was Hunter Pence's 33rd birthday today. He hit an RBI bleeder that brought the Giants within a run at 6-5, but otherwise, he's 2-for-23 in his career on his birthday. I gotta tell ya, if I'm working on my birthday, I definitely don't have my A-game going.
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The Giants scored some runs and that was really cool, but the coolest thing for me to night was finally noticing how cool Denard Span looks at the plate. That slow bat twirl is hypnotic.