The Colorado Rockies scored two runs off Matt Cain in the first inning on Sunday. They had a chance to tack on more runs in the second inning. They failed to do so. Past experiences seemed to dictate that the Rockies would pay for not taking advantage of those opportunities. Sure enough things only got uglier as Jon Garland struggled and the Giants cruised to an easy 7-3 win and another series victory over the Rockies. With the win the Giants pulled to a tie with the Arizona Diamondbacks a full game ahead of Colorado in the standings.
Garland surrendered five runs in total, though only two were earned. DJ LeMahieu dropped a key pop-up that ended up costing the Rockies some runs. Garland was vocal recently about his displeasure with how the Rockies were handling him; to his credit he was then accountable for his issues today rather than blaming bad defense or anything else. Accountability and experience are nice traits for a 5th starter, but they will only take Garland so far if he keeps struggling the way he has lately. That would be true anyway, but it is especially true with Roy Oswalt and Drew Pomeranz knocking down the door for a rotation spot in the coming weeks.
Once those early opportunities slipped away, nothing went right for the Rockies. Perhaps the worst news was the hit-by-pitch absorbed by Michael Cuddyer in the 6th inning. Cuddy left the game with a forearm contusion, and it is unclear if it will cost him another stint on the disabled list or not. If so that is a serious blow for the Rockies, as Cuddyer served notice in this series as to just how much of a difference maker he can be when he produces out of the #5 spot in the lineup. Either way it was the worst tidbit of a bad day at the office for the Rockies.
We can say it over and over and it will remain just as true: in order to matter in the National League West the Colorado Rockies must find a way to consistently beat the Giants. So yes, that must include winning on the road against the Giants. It would have been great to see that happen this weekend, but no such luck. If you want to be an optimist, look at it this way: in the last two weeks the Rockies have played the Giants seven times and they won four. First they needed to beat the Giants, and they finally did just that. Hopefully beating them in AT&T Park will come with time.