Well, that was four hours of total weirdness. To all of you who were saying, “This felt like the Sunday game in Phili, you are right.” It was the same game played a second time.
If you can jump on Matt Cain and get a 5-1 lead, you win. If you don’t, you are wasting a great offensive performance. This is what happened in San Francisco at the start of the second road trip, when DLR gave up a 4-1 to Baumi and the Giants. Look, you will have bad games, and your pen will get scored upon. But you cannot have too many of those or you find yourself playing out the string in August . But after the pen coughed up the win in game 4 in Miami, DLR in SF, and the pen last Sunday against the Phils, you figure it will be a while before you see it again. Not true.
On two big swings by Michael Morse, who was long gone from the game when things were determined, the game went from a 5-1 to 5-5 (add in a big fly from 2nd Brandon Hicks). Instead of a walk in the park its 5-5 and Cain looked locked in.
Chatwood who at one point had thrown 30 strikes and 27 balls, somehow, with the bases loaded and 0 outs in the 5th, stayed on the bump, and not only got Morse to line-out to DJ to save things there, but get out of the whole inning without a run. He even gave them a 6th inning of scoreless work. With Charlie B continuing to act like Barry B, the Rox took a 6-5 lead into the 7th.
Tuesday night Walt Weiss had used the 7 IP by Frankie Morales to setup his pen, and Rex got a nice 1 pitch DP to end the 8th and got the first batter in the 9th. Today….not so much. Rex gave up a huge homer after a walk to Brandon Belt in the 7th, to give the Giants the lead. But showing that ongoing fight we have observed early from this team, after a Charlie Blackmon walk and stolen base, Nolan Arenado extended his hit streak to 13 games (truthfully one of the quietest hitting streaks in history), to tie it up again at 7-7. Advantage Rox right?
In the 5th Walt Weiss had Tommy Kahnle ready to go but never went to him. Did he use him to start the 8th? No, he went back, as so many managers do, to the more experienced pen arm, Matt Belisle. First pitch, a getover fastball that did get over, the 2nd deck, by Hector Sanchez! Never heard of him? Me neither… but wait, you will. Why is Matt throwing in the 8th still? Because Walt, like so many managers, likes experience in the late innings. But three of the four throw-away loses this team has at this point have included runs given up by Matt. Matt did managed to survive a double to the next man (caught over the fence by a fan who was politely escorted out).
This team though is very resilent as we all know by now. The Rox took advantage of a single by DJ, a bunt by Culberson, a balk and a hard hit ball back up the middle to plate the tying run. Back even at 8-8.
And so it would remain. Hawk pitched into and out of trouble in the top of the 9th. The Rox got the bases loaded with 2 outs in the 9th, but DJ lined out just short of the pen where the ball was caught by Pence. 10th inning the same.
Which brings us to the 11th. Baseball is rarely truly a 25-man game, but at Coors it can be. Today it was. Chad Bettis, brought in to go multiple innings in theory, may have already been looking for apartments in Colorado Springs, probably sped up that process. Single to Pence. Walk to Belt. Sacrifice bunt, walk to re-load the bases (I hate walking bases loaded with young pitchers…too much pressure. So pitching to that guy Sanchez again, count run 3-2 and….you guessed it, the guy with 6 homers and 57 RBIs before today hit a grand slam to deep center field for a 5 RBI 2 homer day. Game over!
Why Bettis instead of Kahnle? Why Belisle instead of Kahnle in the 8th? Who knows. I like Chad and Matt both, and they will be contributors this year. But right now they are not trustworthy enough to give the ball when it matters.
Give them credit though, bottom of the 11th, Tulo singled and Justin Morneau who had left a number of ducks on the pond during the day, crushed one into the wind into the right field stands. Game still on right? Baby Bull, who didn’t have a good game at all, grounded out, but Drew Stubbs was credited with a bad hop single to the 3rd basemen (he had two “singles” today neither of which was beyond the 3rd basemen but speed matters). Can they pull it out? Nope, double-play by Brandon Barnes around the horn, game 12-10.
So, they will head to Los Angeles not in 1st or 2nd place, but 3rd, back to half game out from San Francisco. Had they won today and LA lost to the Phils they would have had an off-day in first-place.
Look, its early. The team is playing pretty good. They have played 11 on the road and 12 at home. They have gone 4-7 on the road and 8-4 at home. But they have had a chance on this six games to win all 6 but coughed up 2 that they had nice leads with pitchers that they thought they could trust.
I am not going to go negative. Its early. They coughed up the win in Miami in the getaway game. They coughed up the win when up 4-1 with DLR the first game in San Fran. They coughed up that “game” on Sunday against the Phils. And now this one. Aside from the San Diego getaway game where Kennedy had them no-hit into the 6th, I don’t think they have stolen one yet. So its 1-4 in those kind of games.
Are we happy? No. But there is a lot to be happy about. Think about the next 36 hours until they start against the Dodgers. They showed a lot of bounce back after Sunday, so I doubt this game will stick too long with them. With me…that is another thing.