Giants don't have the bats to keep up with the Rockies

Updated: August 20, 2009

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Tim Lincecum pitches in Sunday's game between playoff hopefuls San Francisco and Colorado.

The key to the all-important weekend matchup between the Giants and the Rockies is the San Francisco offense, because the truth is we know the Giants are not a particularly good offensive team

They are 27th in the major leagues in runs scored. In the nine games they've played against the Rockies this year, they've scored only 24 runs. So that means they aren't even scoring three runs a game against Colorado. Coming into Coors Field, the Giants are going to have to swing the bat better than they have most of this year if they are going to win this series, which given the state of the standings these days, they certainly need to do.

Something to keep in mind during this series: Matt Cain won't be pitching because he started Thursday in San Francisco's 2-1, 10-inning loss So, the Giants will have to hit a little bit more because one of their big pitching guns will be watching instead of throwing.

Featured Series: Giants at Rockies
FRIDAY
Giants (Jonathan Sanchez) at Rockies (Aaron Cook), 9:10 ET
SATURDAY
Giants (Joe Martinez) at Rockies (Jorge De La Rosa), 8:10 ET
SUNDAY
Giants (Tim Lincecum) at Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez), 3:10 ET
MONDAY
Giants (Barry Zito) at Rockies (Jason Marquis), 8:40 ET

Jonathan Sanchez gets things rolling for San Francisco on Friday. With a four-game series on the road, getting that win in the first one would really help. Tim Lincecum doesn't pitch until the third game of the series, so that puts added pressure on Sanchez and Joe Martinez in those first two games to get the Giants off to a good start.

Sanchez's strength is his live ball because it flies all over the zone. If he can continue to throw enough strikes and maintain his violent movement, he will be a very difficult guy to hit. He's already proved as much with that no-hitter right before the All-Star break. As always, when you go to Colorado, everything is slightly different because of the air. The ball just doesn't break there like it does in other places. So we'll see if he has the same movement that he does when he pitches at home.

The most underrated thing about the Rockies is their starting pitching. People just don't understand how consistent Aaron Cook, Jorge De La Rosa, Ubaldo Jimenez and Jason Marquis have been this year. They are as big a reason as any why the Rockies are fighting for the wild card in the NL West and are, at the moment, holding off the Giants. People don't get how well Cook has pitched the past couple of years. He is the perfect guy to start a series like this because he's the guy who's been there the longest for the Rockies, and he gives them the best chance to get off to a good start.

In the NL West race, the Rockies are a bigger threat to the Dodgers than the Giants. Now, the Giants' pitching (they lead the major leagues in ERA) is always a threat because they are throwing a great pitcher out there every night. But, the way Colorado has played lately and the fact that Colorado has scored well over 100 more runs than the Giants have this year say the Rockies are very dangerous. Their starting pitching is solid, and they have a really good closer. The difference here is the Rockies' offense is unmatched by the Giants.

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: Aug. 19 | Aug. 18 | Aug. 17 | Aug. 16 | Aug. 13

TOUCH 'EM ALL

Touch 'Em AllWho went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and on the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page.

For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.

Home Run Tracker
NAME HR OPPSITUATION
Russell Branyan, SEA28WashburnTop 6: 2-0, 1 Out. None on.
Jayson Werth, PHI28DavisBot 5: 2-2, 1 Out. 1 on.
Brandon Inge, DET24Rowland-SmithBot 4: 0-1, 2 Outs. None on.
Carlos Lee, HOU21JohnsonBot 4: 0-1, 1 Out. 1 on.

The complete list of Thursday's homers

ON DECK: WEEKEND WATCH

Yankees at Red Sox

The Yankees could throw the AL East knockout punch over the next three days. Their rotation is set nicely for the series, too, with Andy Pettitte scheduled for Friday's opener, followed by A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia. And that Sunday matchup is a headliner, because Sabathia will go head-to-head with Josh Beckett.

Rangers at Rays

Like the Giants-Rockies series, this one has wild-card implications, with the Rangers trailing the Red Sox in the AL and Rays right behind them. In an unexpected role reversal, the Rays have scored more runs (617) than the Rangers (574), but the Rangers have a better overall team ERA (4.18) than the Rays (4.22).

Marlins at Braves

OK, it's going to be hard for any team to catch the Phillies in the NL East. For one of these two teams, currently tied for second in the division, it's going to be a little more difficult at the end of this series. Both teams trail the Phillies by 6½ games.

For the rest of Friday's schedule, click here. To see what's on tap for Saturday, click here. And for Sunday's full slate of games, click here.


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BBTN ON THE AIR: FRIDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
10 p.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analysts: Tim Kurkjian, Fernando Vina, Buck Showalter
12 a.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analysts: Tim Kurkjian, Fernando Vina, Buck Showalter

BBTN ON THE AIR: SATURDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
12 a.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analysts: Tim Kurkjian, Fernando Vina, Buck Showalter

BBTN ON THE AIR: SUNDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
12:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: John Kruk, Dave Winfield, Peter Gammons
7 p.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: John Kruk, Dave Winfield, Peter Gammons

BBTN MINUTE: BREAKING DOWN YANKEES-RED SOX

SIMON SAYS

Simon Says ESPN researcher Mark Simon digs deep, looking for the night's best baseball numbers.

Tonight, he looks at J.D. Drew's big day against the Blue Jays. Drew, who was hitting eighth, went 4-for-4 and homered twice in the Red Sox's 8-1 win. Not many hitters have that kind of day hitting from that deep in the order.

4-for-4 or better with two homers from No. 8 or No. 9 spot (since 2003)
Player Year Team
J.D. Drew 2009 Red Sox
Joe Crede 2008 White Sox
Carlos Pena 2004 Rays
Juan Rivera 2003 Yankees
Jeremy Giambi 2003 Red Sox

WEB GEMS

THURSDAY'S BEST AND WORST

BEST
Wandy Rodriguez• The Marlins' offense had been on a roll lately, scoring at least five runs in nine of Florida's past 11 games. The Marlins weren't getting to 10 five-run games with Houston's Wandy Rodriguez pitching. Rodriguez tossed eight innings of four-hit ball, allowing one unearned run while striking out seven. Rodriguez has allowed one run or fewer in eight of his past nine starts.
WORST
Bobby KeppelBobby Keppel just couldn't get anybody out. Coming on to relieve struggling starter Anthony Swarzak in the Twins' 11-1 loss against the Rangers, Keppel did not record an out, instead giving up three runs and three hits before handing the ball back to manager Ron Gardenhire. Keppel needed only 10 pitches to do his damage.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

Andy Pettitte Andy Pettitte starts Friday against the Red Sox. The Yankees are still looking for their first win of the season at Fenway Park, having lost there in all six games this year.

Pettitte has been a big part of the Yankees' hot stretch, sporting a 1.38 ERA over his past four starts and allowing just one home run since the All-Star break. Pettitte has been incredibly efficient lately, retiring the side in 61 percent of his innings pitched and allowing only 14 percent of runners to score -- both vast improvements over his first 20 outings.

Andy Pettitte (2009)
First 20 starts Past 4 starts
BA against .277 .217
1-2-3 inn. pct. 38.0 61.0
Runners to score pct. 27.0 14.0
Leadoff outs pct. 63.0 74.0

-- ESPN Stats & Information

FANTASY: PREVIEW OF FRIDAY'S GAMES

Fantasy Adam Madison examines the 15 games on Friday's slate.

Madison ranks the pitchers scheduled to take the mound and supplies loads of other information that could help shape your roster for Friday. Daily Notes