The San Francisco Giants are making their second and final visit to dreaded Coors Field, this time for a quick two-game series. Last time they visited, the Colorado Rockies were flying high, enjoying life near the top of the NL West.
Colorado won that series 3-1, which improved their record to 9-3 while getting the Giants road trip from hell off to an awful start. The Rockies have gone 8-15 since, and look simply horrendous.
Time for the Giants to handle the business that they couldn’t the first time around.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies
Where: Coors Field, Denver, Colorado
When: Tuesday (5:40 p.m.) and Wednesday (12:10 p.m.)
National broadcasts: Wednesday (MLB Network, out of market only)
Where they stand
San Francisco Giants
Record: 17-19, fourth place in the NL West
Run differential: -19, fifth in the MLB West
Postseason standing: First team out
Current momentum: Won two in a row
Record: 17-18, third place in the NL West
Run differential: -20, sixth in the MLB West
Postseason standing: Sole possession of the NL’s second Wild Card
Current momentum: Lost two in a row
Season series: Rockies lead 3-1 with a +5 differential
Three Giants to watch
Joey Bart: You know the drill by now.
Kevin Gausman: He’s been the Giants best pitcher, but was also a common name to hear around the trade deadline. Now he knows he’ll be staying with the Giants, and gets a chance to try and shut down a rough Rockies offense in the series opener.
Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria: I’m cheating by lumping these two together, but they’ve been the Giants hottest bats, and now they’re going to the place where bats book jacuzzi suites for their honeymoon. In the last two weeks, Belt’s hitting 21-44 with 4 home runs, 5 doubles, 1 triple, and 7 walks to a mere 6 strikeouts. In a similar timespan, Longoria is hitting 22-60 with 3 home runs, 5 doubles, 1 triple, and 4 walks.
The way they’re swinging the bat, they could win the series for the Giants all on their own.
Three Rockies to watch
Kevin Pillar: Hey, remember him? The Giants 2019 Willie Mac winner, who was non-tendered (which upset a lot of fans), and who has had a decent start to the season with the Boston Red Sox — albeit with problematic quotes about the recent MLB protests?
He got shipped to the Rockies at the deadline, and will make his debut for the team this series.
Nolan Arenado: Arenado has been uncharacteristically cold this season, hitting just .268/.317/.488, a mark that ranks below league average when you adjust for the park he plays in. When these teams last met, Arenado had played eight games without recording an extra-base hit. Then he hit a home run in each of the first three games of the series. He’s a certified Giants killer.
Trevor Story: On the other side of things is Story, who’s hitting .293/.369/.564, with an fWAR value of 1.9 that more than doubles the next-best Rockies position player. Beating the Rockies starts with slowing down Story.
Best case/worst case
Best case scenario: A two-game sweep would send the Giants home with a four-game winning streak, and having taken the Rockies spot in the playoffs. That’s doable, and a pretty nice place to be in.
Worst case scenario: There are only 24 games left, which means the Giants absolutely need to capitalize on the easy parts of their schedule. The Rockies aren’t a particularly good team; losing both games not only puts the Giants in a hole, but makes them look like a team that probably shouldn’t be in the postseason.
You won’t see me predict sweeps often, but that’s what a two-game series is for. Giants win 2-0.