With a struggling Ryan Spilborghs coming to the plate (6-for-35 on the season), and Ramon Ramirez, a righty on the mound, it seemed like a no-brainer that Jim Tracy would call upon Jason Giambi to pinch-hit and take a shot at tying the game up.
Instead, Tracy allowed Spilborghs to hit, and from the first pitch it was clear that he had no chance at the plate. After four pitches, Spilborghs was dispatched, not coming within a foot of Ramirez's split-finger, and the inning was over.
Obviously there was no guarantee that Giambi would have come through in that situation. He may very well have struck out, just as Spilborghs did. However, there is one reason, and only one reason, why Giambi is a member of the Colorado Rockies. That reason is to hit in that situation.
Tracy has an excuse. Before the game, the team optioned struggling third baseman Ian Stewart to Triple-A Colorado Springs in order to get his timing back. That move allowed the Rockies to put Ubaldo Jimenez back on the roster, leaving the bench short a man. Therefore, Tracy needed to be picky where he used his pinch-hitters, and with Seth Smith already being used, burning Giambi in that situation leaves the club short if they need a big hit late.
With the short bench, the move can be justified. However, Tracy has a tendency to think that outs in the 9th inning are more important than outs at any other point in the game. With two men in scoring position, even a base hit would have put the Rockies within a run. That makes it much easier to get something going later in the game, or have someone run into a fastball and put it into the seats.
Giambi did get used. However, it came in the 9th inning, with the Rockies down by three and a runner on first base. Even if Giambi goes deep in that situation, the Rockies are still down by a run. The combination of moves, not using Giambi in a game-tying situation, then using him in a non-game-tying situation is head scratching.
The moment when Spilborghs struck out was really the only time the Rockies were in the game. Ubaldo Jimenez, fresh off of the disabled list, made Rockies fans think they were watching a replay of Monday night's game. He gave up four runs in the 1st inning, including a three-run no doubt home run off the bat of Pablo Sandoval.
After Jonathan Sanchez gave up a lead off double to Dexter Fowler, he began to look like a left-handed version of Tim Lincecum. He didn't give up his second hit until the 7th inning.
The Rockies struggles with the Giants continue, despite their excellent start. The club tries to avoid the sweep in a Thursday matinée. The Rockies send Jorge De La Rosa to the mound to face Matt Cain.
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