It takes a lot to make me feel even a little bad about all of the trash I have talked about Coors Field over the years. I have regularly called it an offensive hellmouth where defense goes to die.
And that’s true.
But I think I owe it a bit of an apology after tonight’s game. Because Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú has definitely taken the lead in ballparks that give pitchers nightmares.
I can’t even be mad at the outcome of this game. I just feel sorry for everyone that had to pitch in it.
I could sit here and run through all 27 runs that were scored, but no one has time for that. So let’s just talk about some highlights/lowlights. Let’s start with the latter, to get it out of the way.
Defense was a struggle from the very start. With two runners on in the first, starting pitcher Sean Manaea got hit by a comebacker from Nelson Cruz that ended up hitting his knee so hard it shot over to the dugout, where J.D. Davis ran it down, but overthrew it to Blake Sabol, allowing both runners to score. And that really set the defensive tone of the night. There were fumbles, stumbles and a lot of balls that got away at the plate.
Walks were also a big problem. We all expected this to be a high scoring game with home runs, and that was true. But six of the 10 walks the Giants allowed ended up scoring. That’s six of the Padres’ runs on free base runners. Not ideal in any game, but especially not one where what would normally be a routine pop fly is leaving the yard.
Injuries. Sean Manaea stayed in the game, but he’s gonna be feeling that one. The Giants announced after the game that he’d suffered a right knee contusion. Brandon Crawford exited the game in the fourth inning with calf tightness and will be reevaluated tomorrow.
Also, the Padres’ City Connect uniforms. If you fed an AI art generator the prompt “The Saved By The Bell intro manifested onto a baseball uniform” this is what would show up:
Dingers. Just all the dingers. We get to be home run connoisseurs reviewing this one. There were 11 of them overall, five by the Giants.
First off, Brandon Crawford gets the notable distinction of being the first player to hit a home run in an MLB game in Mexico. That’s pretty cool. But even more noteworthy is how it happened. It was the third inning and Crawford hit one out to right, just inside the foul pole, or so we thought. It was successfully challenged by the Padres as being hit just foul. And Crawford took that personally, immediately hitting another one.
Mitch Haniger also gets a shout out here, hitting his first home run as a Giant, a three-run shot, to tie the game in the fourth inning.
Thairo Estrada may not have hit a home run, but he did come up with bases loaded later in the inning and cleared them to give the Giants a lead. He hit one up the third base line that rolled out and back to the wall, allowing everyone to score before Juan Soto could get the throw home.
Thairo clears the bases ... Giants LEAD‼️ pic.twitter.com/8d0EhfTEpu— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 29, 2023
The Giants had two back-to-back home run sets in this game. (Unfortunately the Padres had more of those). But still, the offense was fun while it lasted. The two teams slugged it out until the Giants ran out of steam after the seventh inning. And honestly, I can’t blame them. This was an exhausting game to watch, let alone play in.
Taylor Rogers gets an honorable mention here as well, for being the only Giants pitcher to not allow a run. Good job, Taylor.
The Bottom Line
Brandon Crawford, LaMonte Wade, Jr., Mitch Haniger, Blake Sabol and David Villar all hit home runs. Thairo Estrada was 4-for-5 with three RBI. Every single Giants player made it on base at least once.
I have no complaints about that game, it went as expected, regardless of the outcome. And it’s exactly what you want an international celebration of the game to look like. Exciting, fun, lots of dingers, and fans having a great time. I could not imagine 81 games being played there every season, but for a single promotional series? Yeah, it was a good time.
You know, unless you’re a pitcher.
I learned after the game that the humidor here is NOT set at Colorado levels or lower. It’s set at the same 70 degrees and 57 percent humidity as the 29 not-Colorado parks. “That’s a joke,” one member of the Giants traveling party said.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) April 30, 2023