Here’s a probably incomplete list of things that San Francisco Giants could have done better to avoid suffering a 5-4, 11-inning loss to the Colorado Rockies. It’s a list of times where they came up short when they should not have come up short.
- In the first inning, despite having just scored a pair of runs, the Giants had runners at second and third base with just one out. Evan Longoria ground into a fielder’s choice, and Mauricio Dubón struck out.
- In the second inning, with a 2-0 lead, the Giants loaded the bases with no outs. What an opportunity to put the game away! They then got the help of a passed ball, pushing the lead to 3-0 with runners at second and third, and still no outs. They were a pair of fly balls away from coasting to victory. Alex Dickerson grounded out, Wilmer Flores struck out, and Brandon Belt flied out.
- In the fourth inning, Brandon Crawford had a leadoff walk. He didn’t score.
- In the sixth inning, Dubón had a one-out double. He didn’t score.
- In the eighth inning, Longoria had a one-out double. He didn’t score.
- In the 10th inning, after Tyler Rogers and Caleb Baragar did a spectacular job keeping the Rockies free runner from scoring, the Giants just needed to score a run from second to win. They loaded the bases with one out. Longoria grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Dubón popped out.
- In the 11th inning, after the Giants had allowed the go-ahead run, they just needed to score the very fast Dubón from second to keep the game alive. He took third on a bunt. One out. Darin Ruf drew a walk, and Austin Slater hit into a game-ending double play.
Some of it was bad luck: Wilmer Flores’ deep fly out in the 10th had every single body in Oracle Park fooled, with every Rockies player, every Giants player, and both broadcasters thinking it was a walk-off home run. Longoria destroyed a baseball a few batters later that somehow found a mitt.
But much of it was simply missed opportunity.
The Giants went 3-18 with runners in scoring position.
Let me say that again, but this time italicized for emphasis: The Giants went 3-18 with runners in scoring position.
Let me say that again, but this time bolded, italicized, and capitalized for maximum
annoyance emphasis: THE GIANTS WENT 3-18 WITH RUNNERS IN SCORING POSITION.
Excepting three walks — two of which were intentional by the book, and the other of which was intentional by spirit — the Giants had a slash line of .176/.150/.235 with runners in scoring position.
Call that bad luck, bad variance, missed opportunity, or just plum failure, it cost the Giants a game that they simply couldn’t afford to lose.
It was the most deflating loss since Game 4 of the 2016 NLDS, and also robbed us of the chance to truly savor a game-tying home run by Belt.
And it kept us from getting to properly appreciate this catch by Dubón.
It dropped the Giants to 28-28, though the good news is that they’re still in a Wild Card spot. But they have the same number of losses as the first team out, the Milwaukee Brewers, and don’t have the tiebreaker.
They had a chance to take a big step forward. And they almost took it, so, so many times.