Saturday, July 25, 2009

Potent Preview: San Francisco Giants (52-44) at Colorado Rockies (52-44)

Probable starters:
SFO: Jonathan Sanchez (3-8) 4.68 ERA, COL: Jorge De La Rosa (7-7) 4.95 ERA

Like I said last night, a great win for the Giants that at least gives them a chance in this series and prevents the "Oh my god the world is going to come to an end" sweep. Yet the series, with the two teams now tied going into tonight's game, is far from over. If anything, last night was technically a wash game for the Rockies. Their top-winning pitcher (Jason Marquis) was hurt (not that it would have made a difference for Marquis is vastly overrated) and the offense was without Clint Barmes, who I think has been very key to their recent success this year.

While I have no idea if Barmes is going to be back in the lineup tonight, the Rockies certainly have a better pitcher on the mound in Jorge De La Rosa. The guy has been inconsistent, but he has very good stuff and can surprise on occasion. You could argue the fact that Sanchez has a lower ERA than De La Rosa, but then again, De La Rosa never had the luxury of a no-hitter either.

The interesting development for tonight is whether or not Fred Lewis will be in the starting lineup for the second straight night. I hope so. I think Lewis has a groove in Coors Field that merits him playing every game in this series. That being, said, I saw the SF Giants Updates on Twitter, and they tweeted that Aaron Rowand should return to the lineup today. I, for the love of God, hope that isn't the case. While Rowand does bring a lot of great intangibles to this team, his approach at the plate lately has stunk. He either grounds the ball to the left side weakly, or he strikes out. That is pretty much what you have grown to expect with Rowand at the plate during this road trip. For his sake, and the team's sake, Bochy would best be served by staying with the outfield of Schierholtz in right, Winn in center and Lewis in left (though Lewis defensively hasn't gotten any better, as evidenced by his horrendous read on the Atkins double last night). Rowand gets to rest and regain his confidence when he gets back home, and Lewis will continue to carry his hot streak in Colorado. I also want Schierholtz and Winn in the lineup because Winn has been having good approaches at the plate lately, and Schierholtz is a defensive monster that is needed in the outfield. People think twice about stretching out singles with Nate in right. Winn? Not so much.

Other than whether or not Lewis is going to be in the lineup tonight, it will be interesting to see how Sanchez fares in his third start. His second start was of course, not as good as his no hitter, but it was still a very solid start. Now, after a mere above-average start, I think we will see one of two things:

1.) Sanchez continues to deal and absolutely mows down the Rockies lineup.
2.) Sanchez completely implodes and barely last four innings.

I'm hoping for the former, dreading the latter. Either way, one is going to happen. We're not going to have a "good" start like his last one against the Braves. Those fly balls that stayed fly balls in AT&T Park and Turner Field just won't do that in Colorado, and that's what makes Sanchez on the hill in Colorado scary because he has a tendency to give up a lot of those hard-hit, long fly balls that fall short or get out. Let's hope Sanchez can keep the Rockies in the park, even though it will be a challenge.

All right, best of luck to Sanchez and let's hope Lewis can build upon this hot game. As sad as this sounds to Giants fans, Lewis has looked like our best offensive player this road trip. Whether that's a sign of Giants offensive ineptitude or Lewis starting to come around that's up to you (my vote: ineptitude. Jack Hanahan of the A's would look like a stud considering how awful the Giants have been playing offensively).

For lineup updates check out the SJ Mercury's Andrew Baggarly's Giants blog at Extra Baggs. For live game thread and chat, check out the McCovey Chronicles.

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