For a 6-3 Giants win, this game was pretty darn nerve-wrecking. Usually, when you have that kind of lead, you never really feel any kind of panic, especially when it's 6-1 by the seventh. Yet when you factor in Coors Field, and that you're playing the Rockies, well...even a 10 run lead wouldn't feel comfortable for Giants fans. This Rockies team, and the field they play at, makes every game feel like a close one, even if the score suggests otherwise.
The Giants did get a lot of breaks in this one, and I'm not just talking about those big inning-ending double plays either. Troy Tulowitzki wasn't in the lineup. Aaron Cook left the game due to injury after 47 pitches. When you factor in those two events, chances are the game is going to tip in your favor. That being said, as we saw from the Reds series, even if you get all the breaks logically, your team still has to take care of business on the field. Thankfully, the Giants did tonight and gained a game on the Rockies in the Wild Card race.
Again, another solid start from Jonathan Sanchez, even if it was a bit sporadic. He went five innings of two-hit, scoreless baseball with eight strikeouts, but his command still is a problem from time to time. He threw four walks and allowed an unearned run, a classic sign that while he is still improving since being inserted back into the rotation, he still is not quite there in terms of being a really good pitcher. He is good certainly, but he is not even close to that caliber of Lincecum, Cain and even Zito just yet. However, I still remain confident in the kid. He is having the right kind of starts: he isn't making too many mistakes, and he is still befuddling hitters with his stuff. He is having the kind of problems many young pitchers can overcome. All it takes is confidence and more innings.
Even though the offense scored six runs this game, the Giants should have gotten 10 in my mind. RISP still remains a massive problem for this team. Even when they get ideal hitters in the right situations, they still can't produce. First we had Schierholtz with runners on second and third and one out, and he hits a fly ball in the infield. Next, we have the basese loaded with Sandoval, our main man at the plate, and he has a piss poor approach (swings at the first two pitchers even though Eaton walked the two hitters before him) and pops out meagerly to end the inning. I'm absolutely positive now that our RISP woes have more to do with the crappy approach our hitters have rather than any kind of ability. When you're 3-11 with RISP, then something needs to change. I don't care what it takes. If Bochy has to tell his hitters to take a strike with RISP, then do that. All I know is that I'm sick of seeing the Giants waste opportunity after opportunity, especially during this road trip.
Despite those sentiments above, overall, I'm happy with this win. We got the job done and took care of business and with this Giants team, that hasn't been an easy thing to do as of late. The fact that we got a very good start from Sanchez I think bodes good things for this series, especially considering Sanchez is always the guy I'm most nervous about when he takes the hill. While Martinez is no slam dunk, I believe he can have a solid outing as well. If he can muster the control he had in the 10-1 win in New York, than I think the Giants could be very well on the way in terms of taking this series in Colorado, which would be a big back-breaker for this Rockies team that is currently leading the Wild Card race.
Postgame box notes:
Winning pitcher: Jonathan Sanchez (6-10) 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 8 SO.
Losing pitcher: Aaron Cook (10-6), 3 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO.
Giants standouts: Edgar Renteria, 2-for-4. Bengie Molina, 2-for-5, 2B (23). Aaron Rowand, 3-for-4, HR (11).
Rockies standouts: Dexter Fowler, 2-for-2. Todd Helton, 3-for-5. Sean Smith, HR (10). Chris Iannetta, 2B (12).
Probable starters for next game: Martinez (3-1) vs. De La Rosa (11-8).