What Bruce Bochy said to Ryan Sadowski after taking him out of the game in the third inning: "Well kid, at least the weather will be better in Fresno."
It was a weird how the Giants lost to the Colorado Rockies 4-2 on Sunday afternoon. For starters, the game went incessantly long and dragged over three hours. I don't know if that was due to the Umpire's massively inconsistent strike zone, or the number of long at-bats hitters had, but for a 4-2 game, the game just seemed to slug along to the point where I was actually thankful the game was finally over after Rockies closer Huston Street struck out Uribe to end the contest and the series (I knew our best chance to come back was in the eight and after Lewis and Ishikawa got embarrassed by Rockies reliever Morales to end the inning, I knew the game was over).
Another strange, but characteristic game stat of the Giants season was the hits to runs ratio. Colorado had 10 hits, but only scored four runs. San Francisco didn't do bad at the dish with nine hits, but as always, driving in runs was a problem as they only scored home two. I'm not getting mad or disappointed with these stats because that is just how this Giants team is in reality. They have guys that can hit singles and doubles, but can't seem to do so with runners on base. Noneteless, it's still frustrating because you know this team could do better if they concentrate. Yet over and over again they're swinging at the first close strike against a sinker-baller like Aaron Cook, which is the last thing you want to do because you'll just ground out. The key to beating a guy like Cook is work deep in the count, and try to get into counts where he'll make mistakes up the strike zone.
Despite that obvious fact, Bowker continues to swing at the first pitch close pitch and grounds out to Barmes three straight at-bats. Winn does the same thing, hitting four lousy dribblers to the left side of the field, on 0-1, 1-0 counts. That's really just bad coaching, and whoever is responsible (whether it is hitting coach Carney Lansford or manager Bruce Bochy) needs to either get their stuff together or sent packing. Personally, I think it's Lansford, whom I never been a fan of since he was hired. If the Giants don't make dramatic improvement over the next month, I hope Sabean makes a move and hires somebody new as hitting coach to mix things up next season.
After it was all said and done, th hitting was pretty much what you expect from the Giants, so I'm not incredibly disappointed. They're going to have days when they're mediocre, days when they're below mediocre, and days when their above-average. It's expected. The real story of the day was Sadowski. He threw his second straight stinker in a row, which got him yanked not only early from the game (he was pulled in the third inning!) but probably from the rotation as well. Everybody said Sadowski's first two starts were not indicative of his true progress as a pitcher, for in the minors, his numbers were actually just above-average at best. Now I think we can officially say those Sadowski-naysayers were right. The guy is an average pitcher, and obviously isn't the same pitcher that had that sparkling debut in Milwaukee.
Without a doubt, I wouldn't be surprised that if by tomorrow, Sadowski was sent to Fresno, and the Giants called up another pitcher. The most likely candidate would probably be Kevin Pucetas. He was originally going to be the pitcher to replace Sanchez in the rotation when Sanchez was sent to the bullpen for a brief period, but couldn't make the start against the Brewers because he had just pitched the day before the callup. So instead, the Giants settled on Sadowski, which didn't look too bad...at the time.
At 10-2 with a 3.26 ERA and 1.21 WHIP this season in Fresno, Pucetas certainly deserves a shot to crack the Giants rotation, especially with Randy Johnson going in for another MRI Monday, and Sadowski getting abused on the mound more than Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket in his last couple of starts.
It was definitely a tough series against Colorado, not to mention road trip, to stomach for Giants fans. After a great first half which had the Giants 10 games over .500, and first place in the NL Wild Card, the Giants went on a free-fall by going 3-7 on the road trip, losing two out of three to NL West rival Colorado, and now falling behind the Rockies in the Wild Card race by two games. Who knows what got to the Giants: all the sudden surprise loving at the All-Star break by experts, bad karma from Lincecum's bad start at the All-Star game, the sudden pressure on Sandoval after the whole "Vote for Pablo" campaign.
Whatever it is that got to the Giants, they need to get over it fast and put together a good homestand against the Pirates and defending world-champion Phillies (which won't be easy considering how well they're playing as of late). If they struggle during this seven-game stretch and don't win four or more games, Giants fans can just forget about those postseason dreams.
Postgame box notes:
Winning pitcher: Aaron Cook (10-3) 7 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 SO.
Losing pitcher: Ryan Sadowski (2-3) 2.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO.
Giants standouts: Fred Lewis, 2-for-4. Travis Ishikawa, 2-for-4. Edgar Renteria, 2-for-4, 2B (14). Aaron Rowand, 2B (24).
Rockies standouts: Aaron Cook, 2B (1), Carlos Gonzalez, 3B (3). Yorvit "I can't hit against anybody but the Giants" Torrealba, 2-for-3.
Probable starters for Giants next game against Pirates: Lincecum (10-3) vs. Maholm (6-4).
Probable starters for Rockies next game against Mets: Jimenez (7-9) vs. Perez (2-3).