Saturday, September 25, 2010

Field of Nightmares

You never have enough runs in this game, and you never ever ever ever have enough runs in Coors Field. Tonight the Giants exploded for 15 hits and 9 runs and still couldn't put the Rockies away. Barry Zito got the quick hook from Bruce Bochy in the 5th inning, but the move backfired as reliever Chris Ray surrendered the big bomb to Troy Tulowitzki and the Giants 4-3 lead was suddenly a 5-4 deficit. The lads battled back with 5 runs in the top of the 6th and a battle of the bullpens ensued. The talismanic Andres Torres returned to the starting lineup and dazzled with a solo homer and a fine running catch. He was replaced after five, and the unfortunate Cody Ross looked lost and exposed in the cavernous outfield when the Rockies roped three triples into his territory in the bottom of the inning. Ross is a decent fielder with good speed, but Torres is something special, and we've been spoiled by his brilliance. Fortunately, Ross got redemption with a 3-run homer in the top of the 6th, a soaring pop fly in the thin Denver air that cleared the wall and gave the Giants the lead back. Bruce Bochy continued his puppetmaster-on-speed approach to game management, using six more pitchers after Ray in desperate attempt to keep a lid on things. Even Brian Wilson couldn't get the big out, losing Troy Tulowitzki in the 8th on an opposite field game-tying double that missed being the go-ahead 3-run homer by a few feet.  In the 10th, it was Tulowitzki, again off Wilson, who got the game-winner, driving in Carlos Gonzalez. Emmanuel Burriss, Travis Ishikawa, Pablo Sandoval, and Nate Schierholtz all made appearances in the game as the Giants used 21 players in all.

The Giants streak of historically awesome pitching comes to a thunderous end. The best bullpen in baseball in September, led by the NL's best reliever, can't close it out in Colorado and the Giants fall into second place by one game in the loss column.

The Padres beat Cincinnati 4-3 earlier in the day, coming from behind for the second straight game with a walk-off hit in the 9th off rookie sensation Aroldis Chapman. They play Monday (in Chicago) when the Giants have an off-day, then it is six more for each team with three big ones head-to-head in San Francisco next weekend.

Matt Cain takes the hill tomorrow. A win all but buries the Rockies as they are four back. They play Monday (vs. LA) as well, and finish the season with four in St. Louis.

GO GIANTS! Your fate is in your hands!!



JC Parsons said...

It is best to let that one go and get focused on today:
*Is Torres OK? They said he had side discomfort...should I be as worried as I am?
* Who closes/saves today? Wilson is almost assuredly unavailable.
* I will say this now: If Matt can get us the win with yet another studly effort...he is my 2010 Giants MVP. Everybody likes Huff and Torres, but we are really all about pitching, there is no denying that, so it would be kinda silly for a non-pitcher to win that award. OK, maybe Wilson, but I'm a little less in love with Brian this morning. Without Matt, August takes us out of the race. With Matt (and Tim) beating the rookies in their own juiced bullshit ballpark, we will be in damn good shape.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Yeah, Ol' Boch used too many guys. No way that needed 8 pitchers. As Sue said when Ray gave up the homer--"Zito coulda done that." She said it again when Wilson gave up the tying hit--"Romo or Lopez coulda done that."

It was some serious crack-head over-managing, leaving us a little short today. I don't expect the Giants to put up another 9-spot today, making this another nail-biter.

For the record, FanGraphs gives Torres 5.5 WAR, Huff 5.4, Tim 5.0, Matt 4.1, and Buster 3.9. It doesn't really matter, they've all been awesome. Matt's got 2 starts left including today, the 2 biggest of his career, for sure.

Brother Bob said...

The Rocks celebrated like they won game 7 of the WS. Well good for them. Gonzalez and Tulo are amazing.
I can understand the compulsion to remove Zito because he tends to give up lots of runs all at once. Too bad Ray was less than useless. It's time to consider removing Zito from the rotation. Surely if we make the post season he doesn't belong there. With all the days off between games, a four-man rotation is fine. The Yankees pretty much went with a three-man rotation last year, didn't they?

Zo said...

Removing Zito from the rotation, now or in the playoffs, would be as foolish as trading Matt Cain because his trade value is high. I did not think Cody Ross appeared to be a decently fast or competent outfielder. His fall looked like something a little leaguer would do when he couldn't catch the ball. I liked his home run, though.

Brother Bob said...

"Twelve-Game-Winner" Cain is looking sharp through five innings.
A five-man rotation is not a very good idea in the post season.

Anonymous said...

It should be Lincecum-Cain-Sanchez.

Zo said...

I forgot to point out that Zito actually was pitching pretty well when Bochy pulled him, after struggling to find his curveball early in the game. It was obviously done for a sure-thing ground ball from Ray, who promptly left everything up. He was superb in his last game, too. If you believe that playoff experience means anything, then the pitcher on the Giants with playoff experience is: Zito. And pretty impressive experience, too. If you don't believe that playoff experience means anything, that's fine, too.

ps. The 1917 Chicago White Sox never had to play in Coors Field.