Everything seemed to be going so well.
It was my first time watching the Giants this season from a spot other than the press box, and this spot was pretty incredible. My wife and I got to watch this game from the Virgin America loft in right field, courtesy of Francis Coppola Winery. That’s where I was sitting when I took that extra special photo of Hunter Pence.
The Giants looked like they were on their way to a textbook win. Pence, Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse all came up with two hits each, the home team scored four runs, and Tim Lincecum looked outstanding in five of his six innings. The Giants led 4-2 heading to the ninth.
From our vantage point, Sergio Romo got lit up. He allowed four hits and five runs while only recording one out. I could see from our seats that Angel Pagan made a very bad choice when he threw to third on Wilin Rosario’s fly ball with runners on first and second, and the pitch that bounced away from Hector Sanchez wasn’t a high point, either.
But Romo’s ERA got within 0.20 runs of Lincecum’s by the end of this game, which probably means it ‘s time to find a new closer. At least, that’s how it looked from our extra-special seats.
Turns out that wasn’t exactly the case.
Romo had a rough stretch last week, but he seemed to be figuring out whatever mechanical flaw was holding him back. On Friday night he continually got ahead of hitters and allowed soft base hits on pitches that looked pretty good from my second vantage point (the couch, while watching the ninth inning after midnight thanks to the magic of DVR).
The ninth was a complete failure. After Michael McKenry singled on a 2-2 meatball from George Kontos, here’s what Mike Krukow said.
“That thing is right out there, tee-ball location. If you’re going to miss, you’re going to have to say to yourself, ‘You have to miss off the plate, away. You’re not going to miss over the plate.’
That is a flat-out mistake. And a very costly error. I don’t think the Giants have made more mental errors in one inning this year. Maybe the last 10 years.”
So that’s pretty much the deal here. The Giants should’ve won, and they didn’t because of some bad luck on balls put in play against Romo and some bad baseball from several Giants. Pagan (who’s clearly dealing with a lot of knee pain) made multiple mental mistakes, but Ehire Adrianza, Sanchez and Kontos were right there with him with bad decisions/plays of their own.
The Giants went from precise to inept in a five-minute span. The shift hasn’t been that severe in the span of a single inning this season up until this point, but it’s better that it happened now — when learned humility is still an option — than later.
So far I’ve stuck up for Romo and poo-poo’d a terrible ninth inning, so we’ve got to rip something.
Where did the homers go? The Giants were on a 190-HR pace this season for a while, and they haven’t hit one in over a week’s worth of games. They’ve played 68 games and they’re stuck on 69 home runs.
Oh, who am I kidding. I left the park thinking that Romo wouldn’t be the team’s closer throughout each of the last 94 games, and that’s a hard hunch to forget — even after seeing on TV how the Rockies poked a few really good pitches into the outfield in areas that Pagan couldn’t reach. This is a story that isn’t going away until Romo puts together at least a half-dozen scoreless outings, not with Jean Machi pitching this well.
At least I got to see some fireworks.