After the Giants scored 19 runs in the first game of the double header, you probably had the thought that maybe they should have saved some runs for the second game. Maybe the next game, the bats would go cold and the Rockies would awaken. You can’t go long in Coors Field without the Rockies resurrecting themselves and coming back for sweet, sweet vengeance. The entire history of Giants games at Coors Field is filled with comebacks and collapses. Even when the Giants got out to a 12-run lead in the third inning of the first game today, I found myself wanting more insurance.
But in the second game of this double header, the Giants took a 2-1 lead to the ninth inning. Even with Will Smith ready in the bullpen, a one-run lead at Coors doesn’t feel safe. The Giants had tempted the fates of Coors too much.
But everything was fine! Will Smith came in and pitched around a leadoff walk though he got a little help from Brandon Crawford who dove on a grounder like it was a grenade. Ultimately, not even Trevor Story or Nolan Arenado could ruin the night. The Giants swept a double header at Coors after they only managed two wins in Colorado in two seasons.
The Giants hit back-to-back home runs for the second time today and that was all they needed. After knocking in eight runs and hitting two home runs in the first game of the double header, Crawford went for the third time in a work day. Crawford doesn’t have to snap his funk with another bananas month like he did last May (though that would be rad if he did), he just has to get back to being a competent hitter.
Crawford has been lost at the plate all year, but his huge day has made his season line look much more palatable. Entering today, Crawford was hitting just .226/.297/.357 for a 73 wRC+. After his 6-for-10 day, Crawford is now hitting .240/.310/.397 with an 86 wRC+ on the year. He’s not fixed, but he raised his OPS .053 points and his wRC+ by 13 in a calendar day.
Stephen Vogt hit the other home run making him the second Giants catcher to homer today. It’s hard to state just how great Stephen Vogt has been. With Posey still less than a year-removed from his hip surgery and needing more time off than usual, it’s a blessing to have a quality backup whose game is fairly well rounded. Vogt’s biggest contributions have been at the plate rather than behind, but he’s not hemorrhaging runs on defense. Sure, his arm makes it easy for teams to run on him, but his framing has been average and that’s much more than the Giants could say about Nick Hundley. If Posey can’t catch for a game, the Giants don’t have to punt something valuable from their lineup. Not every team has that luxury behind the dish.
Nothing about the first few innings made sense. The game was delayed because of inclement weather, but somehow, there was also too much sun? Nolan Arenado threw a grounder to first because the sun was right in Daniel Murphy’s eyes. At first, it looked like Arenado suddenly developed the yips and was psychologically incapable of throwing a baseball. I began to wonder if a faceless man had taken his place, but faceless men are world class assassins. They can probably throw a baseball 100-something feet.
Brandon Belt missed not one but two routine plays. He had a grounder from Raimel Tapia go under his glove. It was hit hard, but Belt usually gets a glove on a play like that. Later, Belt missed a throw from Brandon Crawford which allowed Garrett Hampson to go to second. Belt has always been a solid defender; he’s on his way to two Gold Gloves this year. I can’t recall Belt missing two simple plays like that in such quick succession. Maybe the sun got in his eyes or maybe Belt caught Austin Slater’s fever (because if somebody’s going to catch it, it’s going to be Belt) and he was delirious.
Belt’s second borking would have led to a run if Garrett Hampson didn’t fall down rounding third. Hampson had an easy shot at the Rockies first run, but he slipped on the sun-soaked (and regular soaked) grass. Stephen Vogt threw him out at third making this the second time this season the Giants have induced a baserunner to such shame that he needs to lie face down on the field for a second.
The first, of course, was when David Freese got TOOTBLAN’d.
This was not the only time that Hampson was thrown out at third. In the fifth inning, Hampson lined a ball over Austin Slater’s head. Slater got a bad read on the ball and misplayed it. Earlier in the game, he had a ball go in and out of his glove, so Slater wasn’t impressing in the field. He’s probably still feeling feverish, so I’m willing to give him a pass. To Slater’s credit, he made an accurate throw to Donovan Solano who made a good relay to Pablo Sandoval who channeled his best Javy Báez and turned a triple into an out with a lightning quick tag.
Had Hampson’s head not been in the perfect spot, the Rockies probably score again there, and maybe with another out to play with, they take the lead. Without Solano’s relay and Pablo’s tag, this is probably another ho-hum double-header split.
Dereck Rodríguez began his unlikely major league career in Coors Field on a day where Jeff Samardzija threw the first inning of the day. Tonight, he looked to get his career back on track in Coors Field on a day where Jeff Samardzija threw the first inning of the day. Like he did last May, Rodríguez exceeded expectations. He went five innings, struck out six, didn’t walk anyone, and only allowed one run.
He showed that he’s ready to return to the rotation whenever a spot opens up. Although I don’t know when that’s going to happen. The Giants certainly aren’t trading away any of their starters now that they’re the best team in baseball. If anything, they’re going to be picking up a starter or two. Maybe Marcus Stroman or Matt Boyd. You can never have too many quality starters when you’re chasing down the Dodgers for the NL West crown.