Giants lose to Rockies in Bochy’s last taste of Coors
DENVER — Giants manager Bruce Bochy’s farewell tour around the country has taken him to stadiums and cities he’ll miss dearly when he retires after the season.
It also brought him to Coors Field, a ballpark he’d rather avoid altogether.
Bochy spent Sunday morning reminiscing about all of the dark chapters his teams have authored in Denver over his 25-year career. In the Giants’ final game in Colorado this season, they wrote their manager another.
Rookie starter Tyler Beede gave up three first inning runs and couldn’t complete four frames while a slumping Giants offense didn’t pose much of a threat in a 6-2 loss.
“As a competitor, I need to do better than that,” Beede said. “With the position the bullpen was in the last couple of days, I felt a responsibility to go a little deeper than that and that’s really the biggest thing I was bummed about.”
The defeat dropped the Giants back to .500 on the season as the Rockies handed them their second consecutive series loss. After the club won 16 of 19 games to open the month of July, the Giants have already lost three of their first four in August.
Bochy wrapped up his career at Coors Field with a 96-118 record in 214 games at the stadium. He called it the hardest place to manage because of the demands the stadium creates for pitching staffs and on Sunday, it was not hard to see why.
Beede gave up eight hits and five runs in 3⅔ innings in a start that required Bochy to deplete his long-relief depth ahead of a pivotal nine-game homestand featuring series against three teams with winning records.
Beede’s continued struggles are an increasing source of concern for a Giants organization that’s short on starting pitching depth at the upper levels. Since shutting out the Padres with eight innings of three-hit ball on July 19, Beede has posted a 7.98 ERA over his past three appearances.
“It’s been three in a row where the results haven’t lined up,” Beede said.
His struggles have coincided with those of Shaun Anderson and Dereck Rodríguez, who was optioned following a rough outing on Thursday in Philadelphia.
The Giants likely will call up rookie Conner Menez from Triple-A to start Tuesday’s game against the Nationals and expect Johnny Cueto to return during the first week of September, but the Giants will need better performances from their starting pitchers to be within striking distance of a playoff berth when Cueto is activated.
The club’s offense hasn’t provided enough production lately, failing to capitalize with runners in scoring position and receiving minimal contributions out of a veteran core that appeared energized during the Giants’ July hot streak.
“In this ballpark, more than any other ballpark, this is where you want to put pressure on them, create some action, get some guys on base and cause some stressful innings for the pitcher,” Bochy said. “We just couldn’t do it today.”
Sunday’s game was particularly disappointing for first baseman Brandon Belt and catcher Buster Posey, who combined to go 0-for-8, but the Giants did have one player who enjoyed a career day at the plate.
Shortstop Donovan Solano led off the game with a solo home run against Rockies starter Kyle Freeland and followed with a 445-foot blast to left center field in his next at-bat. Sunday marked Solano’s second career multi-home run game and his first since he hit two for the Marlins in a game against the Braves on September 25, 2012.
Bochy opted to rest Brandon Crawford against the left-handed Freeland, but Solano continued to prove why he should be in the lineup at various positions on a near-daily basis. Since June 20, Solano has recorded 35 hits in 89 at-bats and has reached base in more than 40% of his plate appearances.
The Giants acquired Scooter Gennett to play second base earlier this week and activated Evan Longoria from the injured list on Sunday, but Solano’s versatility and willingness to play all over the field may compel Bochy to use him more frequently over the final two months of the season.
Solano’s strong day wasn’t nearly enough to send Bochy out with a lasting final memory at Coors Field. Instead, Bochy left the dugout Sunday with a sense of frustration that’s all-too-familiar for him in Colorado.
At least he won’t have to visit again.