With Coors Field and a brewing NL West rivalry in the mix, you knew you were in for an exciting game. While the Giants’ bats certainly gave fans something to cheer about, the 5-1 win over the Rockies didn’t come without consequence as injuries continue to plague the Giants.
For the first three innings, Matt Cain cruised through a pretty hot Rockies lineup showing better fastball command than we’ve seen in his last few starts. The pitching veteran’s outing came to an abrupt stop when a comebacker off the bat of DJ LeMahieu struck the side of Cain’s leg/glove in the third inning. Cain shook of trainer Dave Groeschner but grabbed his right leg and grimaced as he walked off the mound after striking out Charlie Blackmon to end the third. While the severity of the injury has not been confirmed, it seems like a hamstring strain is a likely diagnosis. Cain will receive an MRI tomorrow and his next start is still uncertain.
As always, long-man Yusmeiro Petit was waiting in the wings to tap in after Cain was removed. Petit has been undeniably reliable for the Giants in similar situations and helped Cain out earlier this month when he sliced his finger while preparing a sandwich. Petit was able to eat up three solid innings, giving up only two hits, a walk, and striking out three.
On the Giants’ offensive front, Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval continued to show that they could pick up the pace with injuries to Buster Posey (nerve irritation, lower back) and Brandon Belt (fractured left thumb) by both slamming mile-high home runs – Pence in the fourth inning to score the first run of the ballgame, and Sandoval in the sixth, marking his second home run in three games and bringing his average up to .215.
Also making contributions to the scorecard were Michael Morse and Hector Sanchez with a hit and RBI each. Brandon Crawford continued to show his power by whacking a homer off righty Matt Belisle marking his fifth of the season.
Unfortunately the fun came to an end in the top of the 9th as Santiago Casilla walked up to the batter’s box. Bruce Bochy left Casilla in to hit for himself presumably so he could continue to pitch the bottom of the inning after retiring inherited runners from Juan Gutierrez and Javier Lopez using only four pitches in the eighth. While Casilla at-bats usually leads to laughs from the dugout and plenty of GIFs, Casilla hit a grounder to Troy Tulowitzki and raced up the line to first base only to drop to the ground in pain. Casilla needed to be helped off the field and was not able to bear any weight on his leg. According to Alex Pavlovic, Casilla will likely be placed on the DL tomorrow and Bochy and Brian Sabean are discussing eminent roster moves. Also relevant, Bochy stated in the post game interview that Casilla was instructed to not swing:
“It was a shock he was running like that … I don’t know what got into him.”
Despite the win, it seems as though the Giants will have to deal with some problems on the horizon. If Casilla ruptured his hamstring, he will likely be done for the rest of the season. Casilla was arguably one of the most dynamic weapons the Giants had in their bullpen and replacing him would be difficult, especially with the lack of depth in Fresno. Pile on a Matt Cain hamstring injury, Tim Hudson’s hip, and unpredictability from the back-end of the rotation and you could have some instability that could cause some trouble for the team down the road.
Speaking of, Tim Hudson will return to the mound after missing his last start and face-off against lefty Jorge De La Rosa in tomorrow’s rubber match at Coors Field.
To end on a high-note, I’ll leave you with this excellent double-play from the non-injured Brandons (Hicks and Crawford):