There is little room for error in games played at AT&T Park, where offense comes at a premium, particularly with a guy like Madison Bumgarner on the mound for the opposing squad. It takes very good fundamental baseball, timely hitting and a nice stroke of luck to come out of the Bay Area victorious.
The Rockies got a solid game out of Jorge De La Rosa last night, as he bounced back from an awful outing in Milwaukee to post a quality start against the Giants. However, he was done in by a poor pitch to Hunter Pence, who deposited a meaty De La Rosa change-up deep into the left field bleachers.
De La Rosa knew he screwed up right away, as he told Renck after the game:
"Any other hitter would have done the same thing with that pitch. I was trying to go outside with it."
The Rockies could have pulled to within a run on Carlos Gonzalez's massive blast into McCovey Cove on a Bumgarner curve ball in the third inning, but Eric Young Jr. got cute on the base paths and was picked off by the Giants' starter just seconds before.
Nursing a one-run deficit heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, Walt Weiss opted to keep Chris Volstad in the game for a second frame of relief. Volstad navigated around some traffic to get the first two outs, but poorly located an 0-2 curve ball that Buster Posey smacked into right field, giving the Giants an insurmountable (let's be honest here) two-run cushion.
Nobody is perfect over the course of a 162-game season, but the Rockies need to show that they can do the things it takes to win these kinds of games. As I stated yesterday, Colorado is 4-14 in San Francisco over the past two years and flat-out putrid against the Giants overall. Clearing that hurdle is just as instrumental to the Rockies' future success as anything else.
Renck writes about players buying into Walt Weiss' "absolutes" gimmick. Like most people, my feeling is that if it works, who cares what his philosophy is?
In case you didn't know, Major League Baseball belongs in Denver, guys.