Let’s start with two facts:
- The San Francisco Giants season is not over, or even close to it. They’re just a half game outside of the second Wild Card spot, with seven games to play. All seven of those games are at Oracle Park, where they’ve been very good this year.
- This was a game they really, really, really didn’t want to lose.
The Giants don’t want to dig a hole. They don’t want to drop out of the postseason standings, with a four-game gauntlet against one of baseball’s best teams awaiting them as they cross the season’s finish line.
A series against the Colorado Rockies, a fading, bad team that’s missing their certified Giants killer? That was an opportunity to get ahead; an opportunity to build a cushion before taking on the San Diego Padres.
It still is. But the Giants need to win the next three games of the series. If they don’t, they’ll be stuck needing to do very well against the Padres, and that’s not where you want to be.
The game was bad from the onset. It was apparent in the first inning that Johnny Cueto didn’t have it, an issue that was compounded by having to make a last minute switch from his personal catcher (Chadwick Tromp), to someone he’s yet to establish rapport with (Joey Bart).
Bart and Cueto’s grand adventure went much better this time, but it still wasn’t smooth. Cueto gave up a pair of runs in the first, and by the time he left the game it was as good as over, the former ace having allowed 8 hits, 3 walks, and 7 earned runs in just 4.1 innings.
Those are bad numbers, and worse numbers when you consider that Rockies entered the game with the third-worst offense in all of baseball, per Fangraphs. Colorado is hitting 76% as well as the average team and, again, was without Nolan Arenado.
But they hung 7 on Cueto swiftly and effortlessly, and the Giants feeble comeback attempt fell five runs short, resulting in a 7-2 loss.
The Giants had one bright spot in this game, and one bright spot only: Alex Dickerson.
Dickerson returned to the team the day after he and his wife welcomed a child into the world, and the outfielder did his little one great service, hitting 3-4 with a home run.
But even the Giants bright spot isn’t all peaches and snowcones, as Dickerson was robbed of a chance to hit for the cycle when he was plunked by a pitch in the ninth inning; as a result, he needs an MRI on his elbow.
Alex Dickerson was sent for X-rays after being hit by a pitch on the elbow in the ninth inning.— Maria I. Guardado (@mi_guardado) September 22, 2020
And other than that, the Giants were listless when they could least afford to be.
They gave up a home run to former Giant Kevin Pillar. They hit 1-8 with runners in scoring position. No one other than Dickerson had an extra-base hit. The defense was bad.
If there’s any consolation, it came from the four relievers: Wandy Peralta, Shaun Anderson, Sam Coonrod, and Trevor Cahill, who combined to allow just 1 hit, 1 walk, and 0 runs, with 7 strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
That wasn’t enough; not even close.