It’s always a memorable event when a player puts the team on their back and basically wins a game almost single-handedly. Earlier this season, we’ve seen guys like C.J. Cron drive in seven runs in a single game or Ryan McMahon blast several home runs in a Rockies victory. As the Rockies finish up their series against the Phillies in Philadelphia, I can’t help but think about one of my favorite Rockies moments when Jason Giambi turned into a one-man wrecking crew.
Jason Giambi: A veteran prescence
Before we talk about Giambi’s stellar moment, it’s important to look at his time with the Rockies overall. The Rockies signed Giambi near the end of the 2009 season, in hopes that adding a veteran to the bench would help push the team over the edge as they pushed towards the playoffs. The move paid off as Giambi went 7 for 24 with two home runs and 11 RBI in 19 games to end the season.
The Rockies enjoyed having Giambi around so much that they continued to sign him the next three seasons to be the designated pinch hitter, back up to Todd Helton, and just a mentor for the younger players on the team. After four seasons with the Rockies, Giambi slashed .248/.375/.452 with 22 long balls in a limited role.
During his 2011 season, Giambi put together his best season as a Rockie. In 64 games, Giambi put up a 1.1 bWAR with 13 home runs and the third-best slugging percentage of his career. He didn’t start at first base often, but one fateful night that season, Giambi would fill in for Helton and have one of the best nights of his 20-year career.
Jason Giambi: A one-man wrecking crew
On May 11, 2011, the Rockies were playing in Phillipaelphia as both teams were enjoying some early season successes. The pitching match-up featured two solid starters with Jhoulys Chacín pitching for the Rockies and Kyle Kendrick taking the hill for the Phillies. Chacín would take the victory in the game after tossing seven strong innings allowing just one run on four hits and striking out nine batters. The Rockies' offense came out in full force as they totaled 15 hits in the game, seven off of Kendrick. However, one man stood alone in the sheer amount of firepower he provided to win the game.
In the first inning, Dexter Fowler got things started for the Rockies with a base hit. After a pair of popouts, Troy Tulowitzki added another base hit to set the stage for Giambi with two outs. Giambi had been scuffling at this point of the season with a batting average under .200 and just a single home run. In a 2-2 count, Giambi would launch a ball to deep right field for a three-run homer to give the Rockies an early lead. It would not be his last blast of the night.
After an uneventful second inning, the Rockies would go on the attack once again in the third. Carlos González would smack a one-out double and remain in scoring position when Giambi stepped to the plate to face Kendrick a second time. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Giambi would launch another ball to deep right field for a two-run shot to give the Rockies a 5-0 lead. Kendrick would eventually get out of the inning, but his night was over as the pitcher’s spot was due up to bat in the bottom of the inning.
Raúl Ibañez would get the Phillies on the board in the bottom of the fourth with a ground-rule double, but Chacín continued to limit the Phillies to just the lone run in the game. Jason Giambi would make sure to keep the game well out of reach once the fifth inning rolled around. With Danys Báez pitching for the Phillies, Tulowitzki managed to reach on a fielding error by Plácido Polanco. Yet again, Giambi stepped to the plate with a runner on and just like before blasted the third pitch he saw to deep right field for a two-run shot. The Rockies now led 7-1 and that score would stand for the rest of the game.
Giambi would strikeout in his final two plate appearances but the former American League MVP drove in seven runs which tied a career-high and for the first time in his career had a three-homer game. At the moment it was just the 12th time a Rockies player had hit three home runs in a single game, with the previous player being Larry Walker in 2004.
“The Great Giambino”
The great thing about sports is that there are always exciting moments and memories that we can look back on and remember fondly. Jason Giambi was a player that I remember fondly during his time with the Rockies. He was such a strong mentor for those Rockies teams that he was even considered as a candidate to become the manager for the team. While Colorado never got to enjoy Giambi in his prime, for one night in 2011 against the Phillies, we got a glimpse of those glory days.
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Sam Hilliard has had a season of highs and lows. At times he was a power-hitting threat in Triple-A and other times a strikeout liability for the Rockies. However, Hilliard has made a few changes recently to try and improve his approach at the plate to some success. However, if Hilliard hopes to be a staple in the Rockies lineup over the coming years, he will need to show vast improvement to show he can contribute on a regular basis. Hence, following the season Hilliard plans to play winter ball down in Mexico to get regular reps and find a consistent approach at the plate that he’s been working on as of late.
In this short article, Patrick Saunders expresses his thoughts to a pen pal of his that he doesn’t quite agree with the sentiment that the Rockies could be contenders in 2022. Saunders notes a number of questions and areas of concern that the Rockies will need to address going forward. Questions still remain about the status of re-signing Trevor Story, Jon Gray, and C.J. Cron. The Rockies will also need to fortify their bullpen and perhaps explore the outfield free-agent market to make the team better.
On the farm
The weather wasn’t the only thing that was hot in Albuquerque as the Isotopes offense scored nine runs on 15 hits en route to their victory over El Paso. Elehuris Montero had three hits in the game, including a triple, and drove in five runs to lead the offense. Since his promotion from Hartford, Montero has now raised his batting average to .351 during his recent stretch of success. Frank Duncan took the hill for the Isotopes and tossed a good outing over six innings allowing just one run on five hits.
Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats @ Somerset Patriots (Double Header)
There was plenty of offense in the seven-inning affair as 21 hits were totaled between the two teams. Max George connected for two solo home runs in the game along with Michael Toglia who hit his fourth home run in Hartford. Coco Montes also produced three hits for the Yard Goats. It was a bit of a rough outing for David Hill who allowed seven runs on nine hits, including three home runs, in 5 1⁄3 innings of work.
After the offensive prowess in Game One, Hartford’s offense went missing in action for the nightcap. They managed just one run on one hit which was a Sean Bouchard home run in the second inning. Somerset scored three runs on three hits in four innings against Hartford starter Michael Baird. They would tag reliever Nick Kennedy for two more runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
In their pursuit of a spot in the playoffs, Spokane had an enjoyable evening as they scored 12 runs on 12 hits against Vancouver. Five different players in Spokane’s lineup had multi-hit nights including Isaac Collins, who had three hits, and Javier Guevara’s two hits that drove in three runs. Jared Biddy started on the mound for the Indians allowing one run on four hits with four strikeouts in four innings of work.
Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies @ Modesto Nuts CANCELLED
Due to a COVID-19 outbreak with the Modesto Nuts organization, the remainder of Fresno’s series has been canceled to allow for additional testing and contact tracing.
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