Hunter Strickland throws hard, though. Hunter Strickland throws hard.
The first thing to remember about Coors Field is that it's a portal to hell.
Start with the thin air, the limited supply of the very oxygen molecules that keep us all alive. They grow scarcer and scarcer as you climb and climb into the stratosphere, with the temperature dropping until you run out of air and burn to death. After the burning, there is a limitless void. This is because Coors Field is a portal to hell.
Move to the soulless imp behind home plate, a foam demon wordlessly watching you scream in terror. When it's finished, you're reborn again and find yourself at the same place, where the same things happen, over and over, as he cheers your demise. It would seem that's the actual hell, but he's just a pawn, a gatekeeper. Things go much worse for you beyond the portal. Things just get started when you're close to it.
I don't believe in the actual hell. But I believe in Coors Field. And I hate it.
There was a lot of stupid in that game, the kind of stupid that stung worse last Monday when the Giants were riding low and they gave away a game to the Rockies at home. In this contest, the Giants were riding high and gave away a game to the Rockies at Coors Field. There's less to make you feel bad today. Until you remember the stupid.
One of the common tropes around these parts is that it's always bad to walk the bases loaded, unless it's to get the opposing pitcher. I'm often wrong, but the idea goes that with the bases loaded, pitchers lose their ability to control the at-bat. A 1-0 count becomes more of a pitch-down-the-middle count. A 2-0 count, even worse. In those counts, bad hitters become excellent hitters. The advantage gained by bringing up an inferior hitter can be lost with a single pitch.
When you think of the kind of player who is designed to do poorly against Sergio Romo, the kind of player drawn up in a lab to flail at twisty-bendy sliders, it's Drew Stubbs. He's right-handed, undisciplined, and struggles against big breaking balls.
When you think of the kind of player who is designed to do well against Romo, it's Charlie Blackmon. He's left-handed, with power, and he plays atop the literal portal to hell. Left-handers have ruined Romo all year.
The problem with walking the bases loaded in that situation is that you force pitchers to throw strikes if they get behind in the count. Except Romo always throws strikes. He's one of the greatest strike-throwers in franchise history. If there's anyone who can handle a 1-0 count with the bases loaded, it's a control pitcher who doesn't want to throw a fastball in the first place.
I wanted to tweet an abstract of all this before Blackmon's at-bat was up. I got this far:
I know I'm n
Stirring words, truly. It would have been the tweet that explained baseball for you. Instead, please believe me that this isn't second-guessing. This is first-guessing of the highest order. That was a strange decision by a manager who usually isn't scared to walk the bases loaded.
When I write there was a lot of stupid in that game, I'm talking in a general sense. Fifty-hop grounders off the rock-hard grass into every womprat-sized hole in the infield are stupid. Errors are stupid. The rule that batters can reach on a dropped third strike is stupid. Bunting the runner over to second with no one out is stupid, until it works every stupid time for the stupid Rockies.
Feels like I've used the "excessive stupid" construction recently.
Right, right. Last Monday. This was the same thing. One of the worst parts about the game was that it was Pablo Sandoval who muffed a play at third. He's been so good, so very good, defensively over the last four months. With Nolan Arenado missing substantial time, there's a decent chance that Sandoval wins a Gold Glove. Remember, these are the new, fancy Gold Gloves that use a pinch of stats to come up with the winner.
He muffed a possible double play grounder in the sixth, setting the Rockies up for a big inning. It's useless to get mad at the guy -- I remember people yelling about Barry Bonds the whole way out of Game 2 of the 2000 NLCS, as if he were the problem with the team the whole time -- without missing the point entirely. I just wish that error (given to Joe Panik, which he half-deserved) happened a couple of weeks ago in a game that wasn't close, or in the ninth inning of Sunday's game.
Unlike last Monday, it's hard to complain after the six or seven* straight wins.
The last time the Giants lost a game in which they scored nine runs, it was against the Rockies. The time before that was against the Rockies, in 2010. Of the last 25 times the Giants have lost after scoring nine runs, the Rockies were the opposing team in eight of them. The last four times the Giants lost a game on the road in which they scored nine runs, it was against the Rockies in Coors Field.
This is a statue close to Coors Field
The last thing to remember about Coors Field is that it's a portal to hell. You will not be spared.
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