Friday, September 16, 2011

Jhoulys Has the Jitters

Rockies 5, Giants 8

I'm starting to feel a little bit worried about Jhoulys Chacin. What's happened to him this season has been a slightly less extreme version of what happened to Ubaldo Jimenez last season. His great first half and very uneven second half just don't line up with each other. I don't know exactly what's going on, but I hope the situation will be handled very differently from how the Ubaldo one was. Rather than wasting their time dismissing rumors and making excuses, the coaching staff needs to work closely with Chacin to diagnose the problem and work on a solution. My best guess is that it's still just youth and inexperience, but he needs to get back to whatever helped him cope with those things in the spring. He won't fetch nearly the price that Ubaldo did, so putting him up for sale at the trade deadline definitely isn't the answer in this case.

Last night, Chacin struggled mightily in the first 2 innings. He got 2 quick outs in the 1st, but then a single by Carlos Beltran and a home run by Pablo Sandoval put the Giants up 2-0 before the Rockies even had a chance to bat. Chacin's next move, unsurprisingly, was to walk Aubrey Huff. Luckily he got out of the inning without any more runs, but it's the way he loses his command when things go wrong that is a problem. In the 2nd, things weren't much better. Chacin allowed 2 hits and 2 walks and, thanks to 2 errors from his defense, 3 more runs scored. Things went well after that until the 6th, when 3 more hits plated 2 more runs.

Back to that defense though: wow, did it suck last night. It was so bizarre the way the sloppiness seemed to pass from player to player. It wasn't just the younguns either, though they certainly had their share. Tommy Field, who has been very solid at short over the past week, made 2 crummy throws, one of which was scored an error. Jordan Pacheco let a grounder go through his legs, Bill Buckner style. But far worse, Chris Iannetta had TWO passed balls (one of which I think should have been a wild pitch, but still). And both Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler made catch attempts against the outfield wall that went wildly wrong.

The offense did its best to try to keep the team alive. All 5 runs were driven in by different players. Pacheco collected his 2nd major-league home run. Eric Young Jr. had just 1 at-bat but made it count, with a pinch-hit RBI double in the 7th. Iannetta hit a home run as well. Field had a pair of hits and scored a run. So basically everybody who messed up defensively contributed something to the offense. And that brings us back to the pitchers, who ultimately cost the team the game.

I have to admit, though, that J.C. Romero was not one of those pitchers. I guess maybe I should stop trash talking him, because he was great. He pitched 1 1/3 innings and allowed 1 hit, striking out 3. Edgmer Escalona played with fire a bit, allowing 2 runners in his inning, but he kept it scoreless. And 1 of those runners was Pablo Sandoval, who hit for the cycle in his first 4 at-bats. I think intentionally walking him on the 5th was by far the smartest thing to do. Matt Reynolds gave up a lead-off home run to Brandon Belt in the 8th, which seemed to take the game out of reach. A 2-run deficit felt surmountable, but not a 3-run one. Josh Roenicke recorded the final 2 outs without a problem.

Ick, Ty Wigginton. Just, ick.

Weird stat: the Giants went 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Which means this really should have been a lot worse than it was.

If we don't take at least two in this series, I'm going to be horribly disappointed. This San Francisco team isn't good enough at hitting for us to let them get away with this.

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