Wow, that Thursday night game was ugly. Well, really it was an okay game wrapped around just about the worst inning you will ever see from the San Francisco Giants. Giants pitchers—specifically, starter Matt Cain and reliever Vin Mazzaro—gave up 13 runs in the fifth inning to the Colorado Rockies, on the way to a 17-7 defeat.
It was the most runs the Rockies have ever scored in an inning, while Mazzaro’s nine earned runs allowed (in just ⅓ of an inning) tied a Giants team record for most earned runs allowed in an inning. It might be understandable if this happened in Colorado, but the game was at AT&T Park.
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Interestingly, Rockies hitters walked just once in the game, while Giants hitters walked twice, so the teams earned their way on base the same number of times—18. The Giants committed two errors, both of which came early in Colorado’ record-setting inning and certainly contributed to the debacle, and there was a hit-by-pitch mixed in there, too.
But those three extra baserunners weren’t responsible for the huge run differential in the game. No, that was due to the fact that the Rockies sent 17 batters to the plate in one inning. In fact, 13 of the first 14 batters reached base in the fifth, with the only out during that stretch coming on a groundout by Rockies pitcher Chris Rusin.
Cain’s struggles are well documented and have been exhaustively discussed in the media. His latest outing did nothing to put concerns to rest, though Manager Bruce Bochy doesn’t seem to be panicking. Meanwhile, this wasn’t the first time Mazzaro has been blown up like this. In 2011, while pitching for Kansas City, he gave up 10 runs in one inning of relief. Then, amazingly, went back out for another inning, giving up four more runs.
Mazzaro has been serviceable since then, though. In 2013, he posted a 2.73 ERA in a full season pitching in relief for Pittsburgh. He was adequate in short stints in the Majors in 2014 and 2015, spending most of those two seasons in the Minors.
It will be interesting to see whether the Giants keep Mazzaro in San Francisco much longer, or if they send him back to the farm. They probably don’t have much choice until Sergio Romo and George Kontos return from injury, since other recent call-ups, Steven Okert and Michael Broadway, didn’t fare too well before returning to Sacramento.
Besides the putrid pitching, the saddest part of the game was how the Giants’ offensive performance was completely overshadowed and wasted. On most nights, seven runs on 16 hits, including five doubles and at least one hit from each starting position player, would be more than enough to win a game. But obviously that wasn’t the case Thursday night.