About an hour after he was thrown out of the final game in Los Angeles, after he had screamed at old foil Mike Winters, Giants manager Bruce Bochy had to meet with the media. He was calm and hopeful, and when asked if it was starting to look like the division race was over, Bochy said the Giants simply needed to win games.
Yes, the National League West deficit looked overwhelming, but in the clubhouse players talked of just getting it back to three or four going into the final week of the season. Yes, the Giants are way back of the Cubs in the Wild Card race, but in the clubhouse some talked of how the Cubs still have 13 games left against the Cardinals and Pirates. The hope was not lost, Bochy said. His guys just needed to win a few games.
Well, they’re not winning games -- not even against the Rockies.
Game 1 at Coors Field was a disaster from the start. The Giants didn’t make up ground on the idle Cubs or the Dodgers, who were trailing the Padres late in San Diego as the Giants headed home for the night.
The problems started with Ryan Vogelsong, who became the oldest Giant (38 years, 43 days) to hit his first homer but also had one of the worst starts of his career. Vogelsong gave up 11 hits for the second time in his career and also tied a career-worst by giving up eight runs. He lasted just three innings.
“Just a little flat there and missing his spots,” Bochy said. “That first inning he just had trouble making his pitches … he was off tonight, it’s pretty simple. The pitching was off.”
The lineup wasn’t any better, with Vogelsong providing most of the production. Against Chris Rusin, a banged-up group looked exhausted.
“These guys, I know they’re tired,” Bochy said. “All clubs are now, but it’s a tough schedule and we got in late. We probably have some guys that need a day off. It’s hard to give some guys a day. You know, you’re trying to win games, especially with a left-hander going.
“There’s no question, I know they’re beat up … (Matt) Duffy has been out there every day, he’s been a warrior through all this. It showed today. They’re trying. I know they’re running on fumes.”
The Giants wasted another opportunity to make up ground Thursday, but there's hope on the horizon. At least a little bit. Brandon Crawford was close to playing Thursday and should return soon. He'll be joined by Joe Panik, who should be back in the lineup Monday.
On an otherwise forgettable night for the organization, Panik provided a highlight up in Sacramento. Unfortunately, it was also a reminder of just how much the Giants have been missing his bat and glove.