GIANTS (55-54) AT ROCKIES (50-59)
8:40 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM, NBCSBA, MLB.TV
The Colorado Rockies (-1.5) went from chasing a playoff spot to last place in a span of 31 days. They had their worst statistical month in club history, finishing 6-19 in July to go from four games over .500 to nine games under by the time August arrived.
Bad pitching and a quiet offense had a lot to do with it — and it was helped along by the surge of the San Francisco Giants (+1.5). San Francisco came into Colorado midway through July and swept a four-game series. Now it’s the Giants, after a 19-6 record last month, who are chasing a playoff spot.
That chase continues when they open a three-game series in Denver on Friday night. The struggling Rockies will send Peter Lambert against Shaun Anderson in a matchup of two rookie right-handers.
Both teams are coming off series losses. The Giants lost 10-2 at Philadelphia on Thursday to drop two of the three games to the Phillies. Colorado also lost two of three in a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers (-1.5).
Anderson (3-3, 5.06 ERA) started one of the games in Colorado last month, going 4 1/3 innings and giving up five runs in a game the Giants won 11-8. It is his only career appearance against the Rockies.
Anderson has been in the rotation since mid-May and will likely stay there after San Francisco traded pitchers Drew Pomeranz, Mark Melancon and Sam Dyson on Wednesday. Staff ace Madison Bumgarner and closer Will Smith were involved in trade rumors but the Giants held onto them.
“We value the present,” president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “We have a lot of faith in this group’s ability to continue playing well, as we have recently. We had to be open-minded. … There’s a balancing of present and future.”
The Rockies made two minor deals but didn’t trade anyone from their 25-man roster before Wednesday’s deadline. A big reason was the July swoon that took the team out of contention.
“Due to the last month of play, we were not looking to add to our team,” general manager Jeff Bridich told reporters on Wednesday. “We never got to a point where it made sense to trade any of our team. I still very much believe in this group. Do we have things to improve on? Yeah. And this last month of games has shown us that.”
The Rockies will try to turn things around in August, starting with the Giants. Lambert (2-2, 5.67) was called up in June and won his first two starts. Since then, he has gone 0-2 with a 7.15 ERA in seven starts, all Rockies losses.
His one appearance against San Francisco came on July 16 and it was his best outing since beating the Chicago Cubs (-1.5) on June 11. Lambert allowed two runs on six hits and didn’t walk a batter while striking out three, but the Rockies lost in extra innings after rallying to tie it in the ninth.
Games like that have sunk Colorado’s season, but the players aren’t giving up on 2019 yet.
“There’s a lot of baseball left. I feel a lot of things can turn around,” third baseman Nolan Arenado told reporters Wednesday. “I can’t pinpoint it, but it’s a collective group, and we haven’t played great baseball.”
–Field Level Media