When the Rockies tied the game against Tony Watson in the eighth, the inevitability that the Rockies would win this game became apparent. Fangraphs had the Giants at a 50% win expectancy, but the Fangraphs system is clouded with the cheery optimism that the Giants can perform like a normal team. It doesn’t account for the history of these two teams in this park. The Spilborghs Theorem isn’t factored in. The Arenado Correlation is completely ignored. I don’t know how the quants at Fangraphs missed these very obvious mathematical principles.
I’m stunned the Rockies didn’t win it in the ninth after Brandon Belt lined out with the bases loaded. David Dahl appeared to strike out looking for what should have been the second out of the inning. Buster Posey didn’t have to move his glove at all and it looked like it painted the black. Gameday had it a bit outside but I think this is a “We have always been at war with Eastasia” situation where the records have been altered to fit their narrative, man. Then after Dahl singled, Watson had him picked off. Watson threw to Belt, who threw to Crawford who tagged Dahl and dropped the ball.
The Giants looked like they had Dahl out twice, but games at Coors bends the laws of time and space, so instead he represented the winning run in scoring position. Incredibly, he didn’t score.
It didn’t matter, though. It also didn’t matter that the Giants got their first two runners on in the tenth. The Rockies were always going to win this game. And they finally did in the tenth when Hunter Strickland walked Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story hit a ball to the warning track, and Ian Desmond hit a low liner that Andrew McCutchen couldn’t hold onto. That set up Chris Ianetta hitting a walk-off single up the middle. It was roughly the Rockies’ 32nd ground ball up the middle tonight, and that’s the one that ended it.
In my series preview, I predicted the Rockies would walk-off in two of these games. I also implicitly suggested to keep an eye on Ian Desmond, and Desmond went 2-for-3 with two RBI. I hate it when I’m right.
To lose this game, the Giants had to blow two leads. The offense got going in the first inning again. Gorkys Hernandez extended his hitting streak to ten games with a squib. Buster Posey assuaged fears about his hip with a sharp ground ball through the right side. Evan Longoria hit his second double in as many at-bats to make it a 2-0 game.
It was a nice start, but Giants starting pitching has been atrocious, especially so in the first inning. Including tonight’s three-run dinger from Trevor Story, the Giants have given up 46 runs in 54 first innings.
It’s making me think the Giants should adopt the opener strategy the Rays have implemented this year. The idea of the opener is to have a bullpen guy face the top of the lineup so the starter begin their outing facing the middle or bottom of the order. It could be that the Giants starters are vulnerable at the beginning of their outing because they need time to settle in, and if that’s true, they should begin facing weaker hitters.
Or it might just be that the Giants’ starters are bad, and it doesn’t matter who they’re facing.
Unless the players are so old-fashioned they mutiny against Bruce Bochy for implementing some forking nerd shirt, it’s hard to imagine this making things worse.
(Bruce Bochy will never do this, no matter how much sense it makes.)
In hindsight, tonight would have been a great night to implement this strategy. Suarez really looked better as the game wore on. He finished the night with seven strikeouts and only walked the one batter in the first inning. He gave up another run on a Desmond grounder through the middle. It figures that one of the worst hitters in the majors and the most prolific ground ball hitter played such an integral role in the Rockies’ victory.
As is, Suarez kept the Giants in the game even if he gave up a two-run lead in the first. He pitched fine enough. Considering how well the starters have been doing lately and that it was in Coors, fine enough is basically a complete game shutout.
Gorkys Hernandez is up to six home runs which ties him with Brandon Crawford for third most on the team. If you had told me that at Memorial Day, Crawford would have as many home runs as Gorkys I would be wondering what happened to Brandon Crawford. Is he okay? Is he safe? Does anyone have his cell phone number?
I would like very much for Gorkys Hernandez to have 20 homer power and play a passable centerfield. I think he can do the latter. I’m not convinced he’s going to keep hitting. For one, he’s not drawing any walks. He’s not at Javier Baez levels just quite yet; he drew a walk tonight and as recently as May 18. He is, however, only walking 3.5% of the time and he’s striking out in 31% of his at bats. When he puts the ball in play, he’s benefitting from a .426 BABIP.
I don’t want to say he’s doomed for regression just because he’s 30 and that BABIP is ludicrous. Andres Torres was good for two seasons before he regressed, you know?
Not like it matters. The Giants can’t win with him lighting the world on fire. They can still lose with him being the old Gorkys.