On Saturday, the Giants lost one of the 162 games they’ll play this season. That part isn’t too important, depending on what they do with the remaining games. Maybe this one game will be the difference between making the postseason or not, but probably not. We’ll know in a couple months.
The bigger, sadder story is that the Giants have lost their starting left fielder for a long, long time. Jarrett Parker broke his clavicle colliding with the fence, and he’ll be out for months.
Other than that, it was a nice day at the ol’ ballpark.
Before you start thinking of the 40-man roster and possible replacements, think about Parker for a second.
Parker is 28 years old, which is definitely on the older side for a player getting his first starting gig. He was drafted a couple months before Cody Ross joined the Giants, and he moved slowly through the system. San Jose ... San Jose again ... Richmond ... Richmond again ... Fresno ... Sacramento ... Sacramento again.
He improved at every stop, though, showing enough power and patience for the Giants to plan their offseason around him. He was a starting outfielder in the majors, and it took him seven years to get there. He worked hard all offseason and hit everything he needed to hit in the Cactus League to win the job. Finally, finally, finally.
Then he struggled for the first two weeks.
Then he got seriously injured.
The job doesn’t have to be waiting for him when he comes back.
So before getting wrapped up in the Giants getting two-hit and shut out for the first time this season, take a moment to consider the profound disappointment of Jarrett Parker. Some losses sting more than others, but most of the time, they’re just baseball games. This was the loss of an opportunity for someone who had been very, very patient. And it stinks.
Tyler Chatwood was outstanding. Matt Moore was not. Now if you’ll excuse me, this game of Zelda isn’t going to play itself.
Oh, come on, you jackals can’t possibly want more than that. Go outside. It’s sunny.
Fine, I guess there’s room for elaboration. Matt Moore was off from the first pitch of the first inning. His fastball was lifeless. His command was off. He left pitches where they shouldn’t have been left, and the only reason he wasn’t tagged for six earned runs is because of AT&T Park. If the game were played in Chase Field or, Bonds forbid, he would have allowed at least three homers. Denard Span was constantly backpedalling to the warning track, usually because a ball was left over the plate on accident.
Chatwood was outstanding in a way that makes me twitchy. If he’s that good with any regularity, the Rockies are contenders. The Giants don’t need another NL West team to poke around the later months of the season, thinking they have a shot. They need to worry about the Dodgers and only the Dodgers. If the Rockies have a random breakthrough story like Chatwood, it will be extremely obnoxious.
The best example of how dominant Chatwood was came with Aaron Hill’s first at-bat. Hill didn’t start, and he was punted into the game because of Parker’s injury, and he was probably enthusiastic and happy to play. Whatever it takes, Skip!
And then Chatwood disassembled him like an IKEA table. The at-bat, from the catcher’s perspective, via MLB.com:
The green pitches are the balls. The second and fourth pitches were swinging strikes. The fifth one was the called strike three. It was worse than it sounds, too.
You can’t just show up in the fifth inning in a game like this and expect to hit against a pitcher like that. Chatwood was stealing strikes with breaking balls. He was blowing 95-mph fastballs by hitters when he was behind in the count. He was getting hitters to chase breaking balls when he was ahead in the count, and they were looking for them. I felt bad for Hill.
Moore, for his part, allowed 13 baserunners in 5⅔ innings, and it’s not like he was a victim of bad luck. The Rockies looked extremely comfortable against him, and I’m surprised that they swung and missed seven times. He was the anti-Chatwood.
In a way, that’s almost refreshing. Imagine if he was stellar but made one mistake, which led to the loss! Super frustrating. It’s much better for a pitcher to mess the bed in that situation and let the other pitcher steal all the glory. Very polite.
It will interesting to see what the Giants do in Parker’s absence. Do they start Aaron Hill? Mac Williamson isn’t read, and neither is Michael Moore, but they have Drew Stubbs and Melvin Upton. Are they ready to bring one of them up and pray for dingers? Has Jae-gyun Hwang impressed his coaches enough with his brief trials in the outfield?
There isn’t a perfect option, of course, and they’ll figure something out. As is, the Giants got two hits and lost their starting left fielder for most of the season. If there’s a team that has had a worse Saturday, I don’t even want to know about it.