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Giants shut out Rockies, complete two-game sweep

If I were the Rockies, I’d feel really bad about losing to the Giants.

Colorado Rockies v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Giants couldn’t ruin the Rockies season. It just wasn’t possible. They couldn’t make the entire Rockies team sit forlornly at their lockers, head down, thinking about the exact moment they knew they wouldn’t win the 2017 World Series. The Joe Morgan game was special because of the Giants’ inability to create their own franchise moments organically, but it was also special because of the finality.

This two-game series didn’t have that. The Rockies will leave AT&T Park tied for a postseason spot, and there was nothing the Giants could do.

This still feels good, though. Prettah, prettah, prettah good.

Not just for the fans, but for the players, too. Think of the Rockies like a neighbor who buys a much nicer car than you. It makes you feel bad about yourself, and you want a bird to poop on it. This series is a bird pooping on the Rockies’ car. And then throwing a brick at the rear-view mirror while screaming obscenities at them. But also the part with the bird. Being a spoiler sounds ghoulish until you’re the spoiler, at which point it’s the only thing you have, and it’s glorious.

The Giants held the Rockies to three runs in 18 innings, and they shut them out in the final game of the series. My only regret is that it doesn’t have the finality, that it wasn’t the last game of the season. I still remember the feeling of the 7-0 lead in 1998 ... they were finally going to make the postseason for two consecutive years since moving to San Francisco ... sure, they were going to face the Braves, against whom they were 2-7, but they had a shot ... and then they were up, 7-0, they couldn’t lose ... a crow streaked across the sky, and it looked at me and hissed “it begins” ... man, was it really Kirt Manwaring to start the rally? ... Neifi Perez got the big two-run triple, and he looked at me and hissed “it continues” ... why would Julian Tavarez throw a first-pitch fastball down the middle to Vinny Castilla, that’s LITERALLY THE ONLY THING YOU CAN’T DO WITH HIM ... Stan Javier almost hit it out, I swear it, he almost hit it out ... then the clouds sank into the sea, and the sea rose into the sky, and my breathing grew shallow, unless, no, it was gone completely ... Neifi Perez steps up again, and he’s facing Robb Nen, whose slider is the destruction of men, who cannot possibly fail, and then ... it happens, and I’m alone in my room, feeling humiliated, looking at my unwashed futon and realizing that I’ve attached far too much of my self-worth to this stupid sport, but it’s too late, it’s too late, lord, it’s too late ... then Aronofsky cut to Dinger making out with an ex-girlfriend, but I thought that was a little too “on the nose” ... there was still one more game, I guess, but there didn’t have to be, all the Giants needed to do was hold a 7-0 lead, and they couldn’t, they just couldn’t ...

Which is all to say that I’m very happy the Rockies could not score a run at AT&T Park on Wednesday. I’m glad they have their reverse-Coors Field to keep them awake, for I have reclaimed a tiny sliver of my baseball soul that was held in escrow.

And nuts to that Ryan Spilborghs dude, too.

One of the most common questions I got this year, on Twitter, Facebook, email, in unread comments under articles, in person, and while doing Giants Outsiders was about Matt Moore’s $9 million option. He was reverse-sort leading the National League in ERA, and $9 million still seems like a lot of money. Surely the Giants could do better, right?

Probably not! And that was the stock response. Of course they were going to exercise the option. Of course they were going to keep him away from free agency. And as the 4 IP, 6 ER starts piled up, I would say the same thing, except I would insert a long sigh or nervous titter. Of course they were going to keep him. Maybe. I mean probably! Maybe. Probably maybe.

The Giants are officially keeping Moore. And I don’t want to pretend like this one start justifies the logic behind the option. But he got Rockies to swing and miss. He showed enough command and control to stay out of trouble. He was the player who contributed most to the win, according to FanGraphs.

I keep going back to the 2016 Diamondbacks, who had ...

  • An expensive, premium ace suffering through a lost season
  • A K/BB wizard whose peripheral stats weren’t matching up with his ERA
  • A lost left-hander with enough obvious talent to keep the team from giving up on him.

Just because Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, and Patrick Corbin helped build the foundation of a contending team doesn’t mean that Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, and Moore will do the same thing. At the same time, the analogy has a lot more going for it than against it. The biggest difference is that the Diamondbacks got a new front office, which meant a new set of eyes to look at the existing problem, and the Giants most certainly are not.

Still, the Diamondbacks also followed the just-be-better-dammit philosophy in a lot of ways. They didn’t reshape their roster. They didn’t repaint all of the walls.

Moore should be better than he was this season. He should be much better, even, and the Giants sure gave up a lot to get him. They did that because he was supposed to be around for a long, long time.

Dunno about the long, long part. But he’ll be around for next year, at least, and in his last six or seven starts, he’s pitched well enough to make you feel just fine about that.

You’ll never believe this, but the Giants are one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to relievers letting inherited runners score. No, it’s true. They’re also one of the worst when it comes to blown saves. Heck, they’re even near the bottom when it comes to holds, and even though that’s a trash stat, it still bugs me.

Anyway, my point is that Steven Okert and Cory Gearrin deserve a lot of credit for keeping this a shutout. Okert came in with two runners on and no outs, and he left with the same two runners and two outs. Gearrin came in after that, and the threat was over.

Think about it. Every time Bruce Bochy trudges out to the mound to make a left-right relief swap, that kind of low-drama efficiency is what he’s hoping for. Every time. And he almost never gets it. It’s just so danged sad.

He got it this time, and both pitchers deserve praise. Hey, why don’t you take a moment and give them some praise, eh?

Joe Panik’s sudden quest for .300 is suddenly my everything. With three hits, he’s suddenly at .291, and there are nine games left. If he gets 35 more at-bats for the rest of the year, he’ll need 15 hits.

He can do that. And while it wouldn’t make anything different about the 2017 Giants, it would make it easier snuggle comfortably at night, secure with the knowledge that, yes, Joe Panik is probably the type of player who can hit .300 and play Gold Glove-caliber defense.

He might not be exactly what the Giants need offensively, but he’s a pretty damned good player. Last year, he hit .239, which seems impossible. This year, he was hitting .242 through May, and it seemed like that was him. He was a finished product. He was Darwin Barney.

Instead, I’m excited to watch his at-bats again. You can’t say that about a lot of players on the 2017 Giants. Give me all of the ones you can scrounge up and call it a season, imo.