Kruk & Kuip: 'The Giants have some things they have to correct'
Barry Zito allowed 11 hits on Sunday, one start after he matched his career high with 12. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
DENVER – The meeting didn’t work a day earlier. So the Giants went to a wardrobe adjustment Sunday afternoon in a bid to fix their misaligned play on this road trip.
Every player and coach hiked up his black socks. The Giants bypassed the Sunday alternate road cap, too, the one with the orange brim, and opted to keep the all-black look.
It didn’t matter. They got hosed again.
Barry Zito allowed five runs on 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings, and a lineup without Buster Posey and Marco Scutaro could not keep pace against hard-throwing Juan Nicasio as the Giants lost 5-0 to the Colorado Rockies.
It was just the fourth time in 152 games that the Giants have been shut out at Coors Field.
The Giants finished 1-5 on a road trip that couldn’t have been uglier without starring John Candy and Steve Martin. They committed errors in all six games, 13 in all, and they allowed 10 unearned runs without getting one from the opposition.
Starting pitching report
Which Zito were the Giants going to get? The one whose 2.47 ERA was the second lowest against the Rockies among all active pitchers (minimum 50 IP)? Or the one whose home/road splits looked like Dorian Gray’s before and after pictures?
As it turned out, the road was rocky again for Zito (3-3), who has allowed just two earned runs in five home starts (0.55 ERA) but 20 in his four road outings (10.19 ERA).
He ended up allowing 11 hits one start after he matched his career high with 12. Yep. That’s 23 hits that Zito gave up in just 11 1/3 innings in Toronto and Colorado.
Yet Zito somehow gave the Giants at least a passable chance at winning, which counts for something given the way this trip has gone. When he walked off the mound with two outs in the sixth inning, it was a 3-0 game.
Jose Mijares mussed up the left-hander’s line when he couldn’t get the final out, walking Carlos Gonzalez before Troy Tulowitzki singled in both inherited runs.
And with that, you could close the book on the Giants rotation on the road trip. (Bob Uecker puts hand over microphone, says, “Thank GOD!) The starting staff went 0-5 with a 9.82 ERA while allowing 52 hits in 29 1/3 innings.
Mijares did no favors for Zito, but the bullpen didn’t allow the Rockies to tack on more runs after the sixth.
It was somewhat surprising, though, when Chad Gaudin took the mound for a mop-up inning in the ninth instead of a tuneup appearance for Sergio Romo, who appeared in just one game out of six on the trip. You’d think the Giants would rather save Gaudin to back up Ryan Vogelsong’s start on Monday.
At the plate
Nicasio entered with a 5.13 ERA but probably had the best stuff of any pitcher the Giants faced on this road trip. He threw a power sinker at 94 mph to get a steady stream of ground ball outs – eight of them in the first four innings alone.
Gregor Blanco had the Giants’ only two hits through five innings, and with Guillermo Quiroz and Nick Noonan in the lineup, the bottom of the order had a hard time sustaining rallies.
Even a rare error by the Rockies – not to blow your mind, but the opposing team cam make them, too – didn’t result in a run. Rockies second baseman D.J. LeMahieu bungled Hunter Pence’s two-out grounder, and after Pence made it 8-for-8 in stolen bases this season, Brandon Belt batted with two runners in scoring position.
Nicasio (4-1), with first base open, tried a 3-2 breaking ball and it did the trick. Belt whiffed and the Giants’ only good chance fluttered away.
The Giants were outhit 14-5.
The Rockies actually out-errored the visitors 2-1, but Brandon Crawford ensured that the Giants would end their trip with at least one error in every game.
Belt, the first baseman, fielded LeMahieu’s grounder in the fifth and made a nice throw to force the lead runner at second base. Crawford leapt over the runner, Jordan Pacheco, and tried to force a throw to first base when he had no chance to complete the double play. The ball skipped past Belt and allowed LeMahieu to take an extra base. At least it didn’t result in another unearned run.
There was a scary moment on a pickoff play in the third inning, when Gonzalez’s knee collided with second baseman Nick Noonan’s chest and then his face. Noonan remained down for a few minutes as head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner attended to him but he remained in the game and even had a laugh with CarGo about the play. Looks like the Sharks’ team dentist won’t be needed after all.
The Rockies announced 47,494 paid on Dante Bichette bobblehead day.
A confession: As a college kid, I once heckled Bichette from the Wrigley Field bleachers. “Hide the Little Debbies, Dante’s on his way to the clubhouse.” Something like that. He pulled an imaginary bankroll from his back pocket and pretended to peel off bills while laughing. Now that’s how you handle a heckler.
The Giants got mauled last year while losing five of six to the Washington Nationals, who outscored them 45-24. That’s just one more sad trend they’ll try to reverse behind Ryan Vogelsong (1-4, 8.06), who was originally scheduled to face World Baseball Classic teammate Ross Detwiler. But Detwiler has a bad back, so Washington will give the ball to left-hander Zach Duke (0-0. 8.40). First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. PDT.
On Tuesday, it’s Matt Cain (3-2, 5.43) vs. right-hander Stephen Strasburg (2-5, 2.83). Madison Bumgarner (4-2, 3.09) opposes left-hander Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.01) in Wednesday’s series finale.