Eddie Butler was scheduled to go three innings and Harrison Musgrave was to follow with two innings of work. The Giants sent out at least six OD starters including Denard Span, Matt Duffy, Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, and Brandon Belt at the top five of the batting order. I mentioned in my post about the importance of WHIP for pitching at Coors. Butler passed the test with flying colors. He had a 1.00 WHIP over three innings including a walk which was immediately erased on a double play and a couple of hits.
Harrison Musgrave followed him with a clean first inning of work, but became unraveled in the fifth. So Walt Weiss brought in Brian Schlitter to do some emergency work. At the end of the inning, four runs came across for the Giants. That made the score 8-4 in favor of the Rockies after five innings.
Then came a string of off-season acquisitions to go the last four innings, except for Jason Gurka. I was with EdtheUmp and I told him all Jake McGee does is pump fastballs even though the hitters know it’s coming, they have difficulty hitting. McGee was exactly as advertised with a clean inning and two sit-downs. Not even close to walking a batter.
Chad Qualls went in the seventh and gave up two runs on two hits and a walk. But he had to work to get four outs. He had a tailor made double play that went straight to second baseman Tony Wolters. Problem was Ryan Casteel who was a fill-in at first base ran clear over almost to Wolter’s spot. There was nobody at first to receive the ball as Qualls was expecting Casteel to be at first base.
Jason Gurka unexpectedly had the highlight of the day when he struck out four batters in the eighth. Of course one reached on a strike out, wild pitch. He was throwing a heavy dose of sliders.
Finally, Justin Miller closed out the game with a clean 1-2-3 ninth. The final score was 8-6. The offense provided most of the scoring in the first five innings to jump out to a 8-0 lead. CarGo provided the first punch to Cueto’s gut in the first with a screaming line drive that defied gravity over the yellow line for the game’s first two runs. In the second inning, the Rockies stringed together a bunch of hits that chased Cueto. They eventually scored three more runs to take a 5-0 lead.
The visitors added a single run in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Mark Reynolds and Dan Descalso. Descalso is starting to barrel up a lot of balls with increased playing time. He still has plenty of time left in the spring training season to keep his utility job. Colorado added a couple of insurance runs with a bunch of singles to extend the score to 8-0 which was enough for a 8-6 victory.
On the negative side, the hitters struck out an alarmingly 14 times against just two free passes. They need to get back to the basic of putting balls in play. David Dahl looked overmatched in all of his plate appearances being sat down in three of his four ABs. Brandon Barnes did not do anything to break out from the pack. I’m still waiting for Ryan Raburn to make his appearance to put Barnes out of his misery. Neither did Kyle Parker despite his run-scoring single.
The most disturbing part of today’s game was that the team had not one, not two, but three TOOTBLANs. Reynolds had a brainlock at third base and decided to take off after the third baseman fielded the ball; Parra tried to steal 2nd while the pitcher was still holding the ball, and EdtheUmp saw the third TOOTBLAN while I was shopping in the Giants’ souvenir store.