In the Giants’ history, they have held the Rockies to one run or fewer just thirteen times at Coors Field. They won twelve of those games. The only other time the Giants lost a 1-0 game at Coors Field was June 11, 2008. The starting pitcher for the Giants went seven scoreless innings and struck out nine. Incredibly, it was not Matt Cain. If it were Cain, he would have given up a run after an outfielder threw the ball into the stands with two outs or something. The pitcher was Tim Lincecum, and he didn’t get the loss. Keichii Yabu did. Yabu walked two and gave up a single in the bottom of the ninth inning with the game still tied at zero. The Rockies eventually won it on a Yorvit Torrealba walk-off sacrifice fly.
I don’t know if that game counts as a true Caining since the starting pitcher didn’t get the loss, but it’s in the same genre.
Andrew Suárez’s start, though, was one of the great Cainings of our time or any time. Suárez went seven innings, struck out six and didn’t walk anyone. He gave up five hits, but two of those hits were infield singles. He struck out Nolan Arenado twice and got him to pop up the other time he faced him. Just that last part alone proves how dominant Suárez pitched.
Suárez was better tonight than he was Friday night in Arizona, and he was great in Arizona. Holding the Rockies to just one run in Coors is basically like throwing a no-hitter anywhere else. Suárez threw the equivalent of a no-hitter and lost. I know pitcher wins and losses are meaningless (see: this game), but what a bunch of malarkey.
Suárez only got into trouble because his defense let him down. In the early innings, we saw some evidence that Alen Hanson isn’t a viable back-up shortstop. As great as Hanson has been this year, he’s always had the downside that he can’t really play shortstop which means the Giants have needed another middle infielder (i.e. Kelby Tomlinson) for most of the year. That being said, it was a little weird that Hanson was playing short tonight and Tomlinson was playing third. It’s likely Tomlinson was only up for this game, so the Giants probably wanted Hanson to get some more reps in.
But tonight indicated Tomlinson is clearly the better defender, and he showed it tonight. While Hanson bobbled balls and took too long to get off throws, Tomlinson picked one-hop lasers down the line.
Perhaps it’s just inexperience—Hanson’s yet to adjust to the timing of shortstop—but Hanson didn’t look comfortable tonight.
It probably won’t be a big deal over the course of a season. I can’t imagine Hanson would cost the Giants that many runs when all he does is play short on Crawford’s days off. He doesn’t look so bad that the Giants need to keep Tomlinson on the 25-man roster at all times. But he also hasn’t made Tomlinson obsolete.
The only run Suárez gave up came on a solo home run from Chris Ianetta certainly had the distance to go out anywhere, but it was fair by less than a foot. That’s if—at the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist (or a sore loser)—you believe the camera angle from Coors Field. The angle wasn’t straight down the line, so it could have been an optical illusion. Buster Posey sure didn’t think it was fair, and Posey doesn’t lie. Especially not on America’s birthday!
Not like it matters if it was fair or not—which it was—the Giants were completely incapable of scoring runs in this series. If they couldn’t score against Antonio Senzatela, they certainly weren’t going to score against Tyler Anderson. As good as Suárez was tonight, Anderson was even better. Giants hitters were flailing at fastballs over the plate and getting jammed by cutters inside. Anderson got 19 swings and misses on his fastball alone. He got 15 on his cutter. Giants starters have had games this year where they haven’t gotten 15 whiffs across all their pitches.
I don’t know if this is a testament to how good Anderson was tonight or an indictment of how bad the offense has been. (Why not both?) He threw five different pitches tonight, but those two were really the only ones he needed because the Giants weren’t seeing anything. The only Giants to get a hit off Anderson were Brandon Belt and Kelby Tomlinson. Tomlinson’s was a very Kelby-esque single and Belt’s was a grounder to third that beat the shift.
I suppose this should be a Tip Your Cap game. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time saying, “There’s no shame in being beaten by the best,” after watching the Giants get swept after scoring three runs in three games at Coors. I’m generally don’t get angry after Giants’ losses. The only time this season I’ve been legitimately mad was the Hunter Strickland v. Lewis Brinson v. Door game.
Even after the Giants blew the lead on Monday in a highly aggravating way, I got over it pretty quickly. I’m going to be mad about this one for a while though. This one’s going on the list. It’s good this game happened on a day where it’s encouraged to blow crap up because that’s what I feel like doing now. The Giants lost another extremely frustrating Fourth of July game at Coors in 2010, but at least the Giants won the World Series that year.
Wait, does this mean the Giants are going to win the World Series this year?
No. No it does not.