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Rocky mountain lows

The Rogers brothers had an off-night and the bats continued their descent into darkness

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Rogers started to walk off the mound after he thought his 3-2 sweeper caught the outside of the plate. It did, but it didn’t according to home plate umpire, Dan Bellino.

Instead of returning to the dugout with a scoreless 7th under his belt, preserving the 2-2 tie against the Colorado Rockies, Brenton Doyle took the second walk, forcing Gabe Kapler to pull Rogers. Taylor returned to the dugout with his inning unfinished and in the hands of his identical twin Tyler.

One commercial break, one pitch and one swing later, Ezequiel Tovar had given the Rockies a 3-run lead.

The homer was the first off Tyler Rogers since April 29th. Taylor Rogers hadn’t walked multiple batters in an inning since April 12th. The Rogers Brothers anchoring the back-end of the rotation for Camilo Doval has been one of the great success stories for the Giants in this first half.

Rogers’ sweeper didn’t land in Patrick Bailey’s silhouette who was set up inside. Rogers’ 71 MPH slider didn’t have as much spin as it typically does and got too much of the plate.

Two walks, a home run, three earned runs and a loss between them—it was probably a pretty awkward Friday night in the Rogers’ bunk bed.

Stuff like that is going to happen. We saw it with Doval getting pasted for 4 runs in the 9th against the Mariners earlier this week. It’s not that the “magic” has run out—it’s just a long season running its course.

As Bryan Murphy pointed out in his series preview, baseball is weird. It is a jagged mountain range of head-to-head extremes played over such an extended period that those peaks smooth into rolling hills. Drive north on 101 through the Salinas Valley and you are encased in baseball’s geography. The Santa Lucias to the West and Gabiláns to the East—all elevation when you take them in as a whole from the valley below, but once you are in those hills one becomes aware of the constant and subtle dips and climbs of those ranges. The old adage: it’s not what team you play, but when you play them.

Statistically, the San Francisco Giants should dominate the Rockies, yet Colorado has been so bad for so long that probability dictates that they’re due. That mysterious and spiritual lift that comes when you have hit rock bottom and the only place you can go is up. Vice versa, when you’ve been at the peak for so long a drop has to come. Lifted up or dragged down seemingly by the slightest weight of averages.

The Rockies were due. The Rogers twins were due. They politely nodded to each other on the trail: one on the rebound, the other on the descent.

I’m choosing to take the macro perspective on things because the micro is just too depressing.

Ross Stripling gave up a 2-run homer to Ryan McMahon in the first inning after a 10-pitch at-bat, dropping the offense in a hole they have proved incapable of climbing out of in early innings. The Giants scratched only 2 hits off lefty Austin Gomber and his 6.64 ERA and 1.56 WHIP through the first five innings. They only had 3 opportunities with runners in scoring position and went hitless in all of them. J.D. Davis struck out with Wilmer Flores on second in the 1st, then was unable to lift the ball deep enough to score Austin Slater from third in a sac fly situation in the 6th.

Slater was hosed. There was no real chance of him scoring on his tender legs and the depth of the fly ball. I still understand the send though. San Francisco has been so ineffectual at the plate that a considerable portion of their offense has come from opponents’ defensive miscues. When you’re desperate, you get risky. Why not fish for a break?

It didn’t work out. Colorado stunted the rally and regained the lead the next half-inning.

The inning-ending outfield assist trashed a golden scoring opportunity to take the lead after Brandon Crawford knotted the game up off Gomber with a 2-run homer, passing Buster Posey on the franchise all-time RBI list.

Players, coaches, and fans all know that these slumps come with the territory. They’re completely in the dark now and can only look at previous seasons, trace their peaks and valleys, and repeat over and over to themselves that these lulls end. Gravity dictates the bats will eventually meet the ground. An ascent back to their established mean feels statistically inevitable. The dark crevasse has to have a bottom.

Friday’s 5-2 loss felt like a low point. The Mets used Patrick Bailey’s slap in the face as a wake up call. What are we doing? We’re better than this. They’ve now won 6 in a row. Maybe Tovar’s 3-run homer last night will be the slap that gets the San Francisco bats out of bed before the All Star break.