We’ll open with the bizarre stat of the day: all 13 Giants runs in today’s twinbill were scored with 2 outs. Uncanny, and the Giants beat guys said the last 4 runs yesterday were with 2 outs for a total of 17.
In the opener, we got turf toed. At some point (and I honestly was checking in and out), Jordan Lyles sprained the big toe on his left foot. It was clearly bothering him starting in the 4th, and affected a errant pickoff throw to first. By the time the staff decided to lift him after 3 visits during the 4th and 5th – were they trying to save arms for the doubleheader? – he ran into huge trouble that even Yohan Flande couldn’t bail him out of, and there were 7 runs on the board. Flande surrendered 3 more in the 6th. At least they didn’t walk anyone.
The Rox tried to punch back. Hundley and Blackmon homered in the 5th, adding to the Paulsen homer in the 1st. After Oberg and Friedrich held the line, the offense attempted the old bottom of the 9th magic act, down by 4. With 2 outs on Sergio Romo, Blackmon singled, advanced on a wild pitch, Arenado singled. Santiago Castilla came in and the rally kept going, CarGo singled and Tulo singled. Rosario brought the possible winning run to the plate – all you can really ask for in a game like that one – but killed the rally with a grounder to 3B. The Rox fell short, 10-8.
Had Lyles stayed sharp it might have been different. He was compensating on his landing every pitch. The training staff probably should have yanked him immediately, and for sure before letting him load the bases before Flande. You like a guy that wants to stay in and compete, but to me that’s a no-brainer. Lyles is day-to-day, but turf toe can be nasty.
The second game was far more interesting. The lineup was suspect, at least on paper – bottom half of Paulsen at 1B, McKenry behind plate, Barnes in LF, and Descalso at short. However, I have faith in the Atlanta scouting system when it comes to pitchers.
David Hale started and did a spectacular job. 6.2 IP, zero BB, eight hits and 2 runs. Well, really 3, CarGo threw a ball in from RF that went through 3 guys and allowed a runner to score from 3rd. That was a Little League run allowed.
Once again, the bottom half of the order did the damage. In the 4th, Barnes doubled driving in Paulsen.
Does Bridich give Barnes something like an Edible Arrangements w anon card that says “Sorry I screwed up”? #Rockies
— Don Dingee (@DonnyDinger) May 24, 2015
Descalso followed with a productive out driving in McKenry, giving the Rox a 2-1 lead. Hale got some help from CarGo in the 5th, gunning down Hits McGehee at the plate (elbow to face, and a full cup check administered by McKenry in the process). McGehee was initially called safe, but thanks to technology the play was overturned on review.
In the 6th, McKenry singled, Barnes FC’d, then Descalso muscled a change up into the first row of seats over the out-of-town scoreboard in RF for a 4-2 lead.
In the 7th, LeMahieu walked, CarGo FC’d into a shift and DJ advanced, and Arenado got a IBB from Affeldt. Paulsen then hung tough and singled on a sharp roller up the middle, plating DJ. Superheroes aren’t required, just guys who can put the bat on the ball with runners on. (See RE24 and WPA/LI discussion from pre-game today.)
The 9th looked like trouble. Axford allowed a single to Blanco, then stole second uncontested. Pagan flew to Blackmon, and Blanco decided to stroll to third. Blackmon came up firing and was on the money, but the best part of the play was Arenado with the “no-ball-coming-here” fake, waiting until the last second to snatch the ball and slap the tag. Reminded me of the good old days with various Larry Walker treachery. Hits McGehee singled (eh, Descalso error probably) which would have scored Blanco if he hadn’t TOOTBLANed. For a change the bad baserunning was on the other side, and it’s a 5-3 Rox win.
The knock on Hale in Atlanta, at least according to a Braves blogger, was a high FIP and a bad K/BB ratio. A couple people said the Giants were hitting the ball hard but right at people – exit velocity isn’t worth anything unless it finds grass or seats, sorry. Hale looked pretty good for his first start back. His slider was breaking well, a good sign, and he was pitching as Ed the Ump suggests – get ahead in the count, throw a pitch out of the zone and try to get batter to fish, and control the sequence.
I’m going out on a limb here and suggest we’ll see more of Hale, for either Butler or Lyles (if he’s hurt), soon. With the doubleheader, the Rox used the 26th man to their advantage. Hale looked pretty good and minus the game of croquet on the CarGo throw, that’s a quality start. He threw 97 pitches and 66 strikes, and I think they lifted him just as a confidence builder to not allow a tying run after the 7th inning fiasco. Brooks Brown immediately put the fire out.
That second game looked more like Rockies baseball should look. Personally, I’d stay with Barnes in LF, platoon Paulsen and Rosario at 1B (no Justin Morneau anytime soon, what did I say about concussions?), and keep doing what they are doing with Hundley and McKenry. We need more from the top half of the order, but I suspect that will come. Give Hale a chance to stick in the rotation, probably sending Butler out for a tuneup. (Braves scouts >> Rockies scouts, no other reason.)