That was a lifeless, stupid, feckless, pointless game that told us nothing we didn’t already know: the Giants suck in Coors Field. They’re 6-18 in Coors since the beginning of 2016. That’s a cattle brand to the face.
Here was the highlight of the game:
Chris Stratton was up to 101 pitches and still pitching in the 6th inning of a game he was losing definitively 6-0 with Giants killer D.J. LeMahieu at the plate and a runner on third. LeMahieu hit a double to make it 7-0, because of course he would, and it was only then that Bruce Bochy finally took Stratton out of the game, because it’s Coors Field, so who cares?
His rotation spot is up for grabs, maybe not especially because of this start, but because he has been mostly bad since returning from paternity leave back in April. In 13 starts and 65.2 innings since, he’s allowed 48 runs (45 earned; 6.21 ERA), 84 hits, and 11 home runs with a 49:26 strikeout to walk ratio. Even though this start was at Coors Field, he didn’t do much within it to help his chances.
Charlie Blackmon hit an absolute bomb to center field in the 1st inning and Nolan Arenado hit a 3-run monster to the same spot in the 5th inning because Chris Stratton can’t throw his good-looking curveball anymore, so he has to rely on a fastball-changeup combo that’s no good because of a pedestrian fastball and ineffective changeup.
Arenado and Trevor Story followed Blackmon’s first inning home run with singles, and then Stratton failed to put away Gerardo Parra after 8 pitches, and Parra singled home Arenado to put the Giants in a 2-0 hole after the 1st inning.
He has flashes of effectiveness, which will make him a solid contender for a back of the rotation role in the future. Right now, the Giants need effectiveness plus consistency.
Add Antonio Senzatela to the list of pitchers who have the Giants’ number. After a poor start to the season, he was sent down to AAA. He very quickly got back on track down there, however, and after the Giants beat Jon Gray last week in San Francisco, Seznatela replaced him. So, in effect, the Giants have only themselves to blame for this.
He’s 4-0 in 4 starts against them through two seasons and like an Ian Desmond regressing to the mean, he’s resurrected his career against the Giants. He retired the final 12 batters he faced in 7 shutout innings, and lowered that career against ERA from 4.00 to 3.00.
The last time the Giants faced Senzatela as a starter in Coors, they hit 3 home runs off of him and scored 5 runs (in a loss, because it’s still Coors Field). Tonight, they could only hit weak ground balls and air-assisted flyouts to the warning track. He pounded the zone all night and kept them off balance. There were a lot of off-balance swings, very much like last night’s start by Kyle Freeland. Now that Senzatela’s career is back on track, expect him to deliver more body blows like this down the stretch.
We’re three months into the season and the only thing we know about the Giants is that they’re a .500 team. They’ll look great for a stretch, then look awful for a stretch. The last time they got a big road sweep was in Atlanta, and they followed that up by letting Philadelphia hang them on a flagpole. Maybe don’t sweep teams on the road? I don’t know.
Anything can happen in baseball. Barry Zito once pitched a shutout at Coors Field. But we can predict bad stuff with much more certainty because baseball is largely a game of failure. Because Nolan Arenado has 24 home runs and 90 RBI in 100 career games against the Giants, we know he’ll always hurt them. Because D.J. LeMahieu has a .400 OBP and 118 hits against them in 99 career games, we know he’ll always hurt them (and on defense, too). Because of their recent record and because of the entire history of the matchup, we know the Giants will always lose in Coors Field.
They will try in vain to avoid the sweep tomorrow. Because they’re bad right now. Maybe they’ll be good again, but it wouldn’t matter, because Coors Field has beaten them.