San Francisco Giants Drop Series Opener in Colorado
By Reina Bocchichio
The San Francisco Giants’ woes continued Monday night in Colorado, resulting in their fifth loss on this road trip and putting them four games out of first in the NL West. Pitching struggles and the recent lack of timely hitting are cause for concern going forward.
The San Francisco Giants came into the series in Denver facing their first true “must-win” situation of the season. With a three game deficit on the Rockies, a sweep of their rivals could have had them tied for first in the division by Wednesday, just in time for Joe Panik and, soon after, Madison Bumgarner to rejoin the team and give them a boost of both morale and skill. However, their shot at a sweep was lost in ten innings when the big hits escaped them.
Starting pitching has been the main stressor in recent weeks. A rotation depleted by injury has been tested on a daily basis and has failed to come through more often than not. Derek Holland holds the lowest ERA of the Giants’ current starters, with a 4.73, which is certainly unimpressive considering it’s the lowest. Andrew Suarez, who had the nod on Monday, owns a 5.68 ERA.
Coming into Coors Field, these numbers are truly terrifying, and all fans were holding their breaths as they watched Suarez make his first major league start in the infamous hitter’s ballpark. Early on, these fears seemed to be ringing true, as Suarez gave up a three-run homerun to Trevor Story in the bottom of the first, erasing the two runs his team had scored to open the game. However, Suarez managed to settle in after that, only giving up one more run in the third and finding a rhythm for the fourth and fifth innings. His start may have gone longer if his spot in the lineup didn’t come on the tail end of an important sixth inning, where Bruce Bochy decided to pinch-hit Pablo Sandoval (who gave his team the lead with an RBI single).
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From there, the issues strayed from pitching and into other small mistakes, mainly at the plate. They went just 2-for-12 with runner’s in scoring position, a frustrating issue that’s been all too common recently. In the ninth and tenth innings, the Giants left five runners stranded on base, 10 total for the night. Austin Jackson, who is having a very unimpressive 2018 to date, came up in a big spot with two runners on and no outs in the top of the tenth, and he failed to put down a successful bunt to advance the runners. From there, the big hit to put them ahead never came.
After the season the Giants had last year where power was a huge issue, it’s hard to believe that something like bunting is causing such frustration amongst the team. But it’s the little things that add up to big failures, and as we get deeper into the season, it’s become quite clear that these little mistakes can’t keep happening.
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This loss just makes the next two games even more vital to keep the Giants in the race. Thankfully, they’ve received some good news on the injury front in the past few days, which offers some light after a pretty dark week. The hope is that Jeff Samardzija and Holland can hold it together and give the offense a chance to make up for the one that got away. A series win would certainly make this loss sting a lot less.