One game, not one series. Baby steps.
The San Francisco Giants own the Colorado Rockies. Straight up. The last time the Rockies posed a legitimate threat to the Giants, Jon Miller (and then Tim Lincecum, tonight’s pitcher) accused them of using juiced baseballs. And they lost out in the end that season, too. Ever since it has been glorious for the Giants and disastrous for the Rockies.
It appears that the Rockies might not be the bottom-dwellers that we all assumed they would be in 2013 (insert strength-of-schedule and small sample size qualifiers here). If that is the case, they will need to figure out how to be competitive with the Giants. They do not need to all of a sudden flip a switch and conquer this demon. They just need to make things competitive again. We already saw a number of steps in the right direction last night. Yes the Rockies lost in the end, but they mounted a number of rallies and forced Madison Bumgarner out before the end of the 6th inning. They delivered tough at-bats and the pitching continued to be OK.
Now their mission is to win one game this series. Just one. Don’t get swept. Baby steps. Or, to indulge another favorite MLB cliche, the season is a marathon, not a sprint. They will have plenty of other chances at the Giants. They just can’t fall too far behind the pace.
The Rockies need to play .500 baseball on the road. Early in the season though it may be, their pursuit of that goal will be much more realistic if they can avoid getting swept (especially with a series in San Diego this weekend). The Rockies very well could have won last night. In the end the Giants were just better and they just beat them. The Rockies now need to counter punch and not get swept.
Tonight very well may be their best chance to do so. If you remove historical associations from the equation and look objectively, Lincecum is beatable. Furthermore, there is weird drama that continues to brew between him and super-duper star Buster Posey. Whatever is happening there, Posey is out of the lineup tonight. Anybody familiar with the last three years of NL West baseball knows how different the Giants look without Posey.
The Rockies lineup needs to get to Lincecum early; there needs to be runs on the board the first time through the lineup. Then they need Juan Nicasio to work efficiently and not pitch himself into trouble. If they do that, they can seize control of this game early and take a night off from the usual nail-biting drama that is otherwise inevitable in AT&T Park. If things go right, Sergio Romo and his stupid slider can just watch this one from the bullpen.
We don’t ask much. Just win one.