Instant Replay: Rockies tee off on Moore, Bettis blanks Giants


Instant Replay: Rockies tee off on Moore, Bettis blanks Giants


DENVER — Did you think it couldn’t get any worse after the Giants managed just 14 hits in four games at Wrigley Field? 

Well, they had a surprise waiting for you at Coors Field!

On a hot day at the best hitters park in the land, the Giants managed just two hits. They lost 6-0 to the Rockies, falling to 1-4 on this road trip and dropping further into a dangerous spot in the standings. By the end of the day, their lead in the Wild Card race should be just a half-game over the Cardinals and 1 1/2 games over the Mets. 

The Giants didn’t have a baserunner through four innings, but for half of that period, Matt Moore looked up for the challenge. The wheels came flying off in the third. Moore walked Christhian Adames and then issued a four-pitch walk to opposing pitcher Chad Bettis, who was trying to put a bunt down. Raimel Tapia sliced a liner to short that looked like it might be a double play, but it ricocheted off Brandon Crawford’s glove to load the bases. A sacrifice fly got the Rockies on the board.

The Giants decided not to pitch to Nolan Arenado with two in scoring position, putting the ultimate Giants-killer on intentionally to load the bases. Carlos Gonzalez got a fastball he liked and yanked a grand slam into the bullpen. The slam was the first allowed by Moore in the big leagues. He would give up another homer before being pulled after his 43rd pitch of the inning. 

The Rockies had four hits in that inning. The Giants didn’t have their first until an Eduardo Nuñez single in the sixth. Trevor Brown hit a double in the sixth, but that was it against Bettis, who threw the Rockies' first complete game of the season. 

Starting pitching report: Moore failed to get through three innings for just the fourth time in his career. The start was his shortest since June 4, 2013. He was charged with six earned runs on five hits and four walks. 

Bullpen report: Ty Blach, who grew up 15 minutes away, made his MLB debut in the sixth and quickly retired the side, hitting 93 on the gun. He had a perfect seventh, too, ending it with an Arenado groundout to second. He worked around trouble for a scoreless third inning of work. 

At the plate: #RockBottom. 

In the field: Arenado speared a hot liner off Hunter Pence’s bat. The whole park thought it was an out, but just for good measure, Arenado whipped a throw across the diamond from his knee. On a more positive note for the Giants, the San Jose affiliate named Jonah Arenado the team MVP. 

Attendance: The Rockies announced a crowd of 26,574 human beings, including Blach’s high school coach, who got to see one of his kids pitch in the big leagues after 40 years of coaching. 

Up next: Save them, Shark. 

MLB free agency debate: Where will Manny Machado sign this offseason?

MLB free agency debate: Where will Manny Machado sign this offseason?

Editor's note: Each day this week, Giants insider Alex Pavlovic and A's reporter Ben Ross will debate where one of the top five free agents might land this offseason. Wednesday's free agent to discuss is Manny Machado, a four-time All-Star infielder who has spent the last half of the 2018 season with the Dodgers.

ALEX: Ben, people have been looking forward to this free agent class for years, but it ended up being a little underwhelming. Clayton Kershaw didn't opt out, guys like Dallas Keuchel, Josh Donaldson and Andrew McCutchen dropped off a bit, and former All-Stars like Hunter Pence have totally fallen off the map.

But it's still a historic class with two young superstars at the top -- Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. We talked about Harper on Monday. Machado is the better all-around player, but there's a cloud hanging over his head after his postseason behavior.

[RELATED: Debate -- Where will Brantley sign?]

Personally, I don't think that'll cost him money. Aroldis Chapman got paid and Roberto Osuna got traded to a contender. Machado will get his big deal somewhere. What do you think?

BEN: Agreed. Machado is a special talent. He’s already a four-time All-Star and still just 25 years old. He is going to get his $300+ million contract from someone. So who are the contenders? I’m thinking the Yankees and Phillies are the frontrunners.

I don’t see him staying with the Dodgers, but maybe the Angels try to make a splash? How about the Cubs or White Sox? Who am I missing?

ALEX: I do wonder if the Mets will get involved if their new GM can convince them to spend. The Angels are a nice darkhorse for a lot of these guys. Some people have speculated he could go home to Miami.

But it sounds like the Yankees and Phillies have been out in front of this one. I'm going to lean towards the Phillies, because they have to get Harper or Machado, and I think Machado is the better fit. What's the official Ben Ross prediction? 

BEN: I've thought all along he would end up with the Yankees and I'll stick with that. I know there are reports they're concerned with Machado's comments about hustling -- not to mention his other antics -- but I don't think they'll be scared off. They have the opportunity to put Machado, Stanton, and Judge all in the same lineup. I'll say Machado gets 12 years, $325 million.

ALEX: I'm going to take the under. If the Yankees aren't that serious, there aren't enough major suitors out there to push his market where he wants it to end up. I'll say the Phillies get their guy, but at $261 million over nine years.

Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in baseball. Wednesday is dedicated to free agent infielder Manny Machado.

'No red flags' for six injured Giants six weeks into the offseason


'No red flags' for six injured Giants six weeks into the offseason

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few hours before the Giants named Farhan Zaidi their new president of baseball operations, assistant general manager Jeremy Shelley stood in the lobby of the Omni Resort in Carlsbad and looked down at a notecard full of names. He had been asked about the large collection of Giants who finished the season on crutches or in slings. 

"No red flags," he said.

Zaidi's first order of business will be to build depth for a team that was crushed by injuries in 2018. That effort will be helped by the fact that all of the rehabbing Giants appear to be doing well. They're all on schedule, or in some cases, a little ahead.

It starts with catcher Buster Posey, of course. He's off his crutches and walking normally two and a half months after major hip surgery. Posey has been rehabbing five days per week in the Bay Area, and remains on pace to start baseball work in January.

Shelley said Posey "definitely" will be ready for activity in spring training, as the Giants had anticipated all along.

When Posey shows up in Scottsdale, he'll at some point run into Johnny Cueto. The right-hander is back in the Dominican Republic right now after months of rehab work in Arizona. He'll continue physical therapy at his offseason home and return to Scottsdale in February to begin a throwing program. There's still a chance that Cueto, who had Tommy John surgery, can return for a few starts at the end of next season.

First baseman Brandon Belt, who had a knee cleanup, is off his crutches and doing well. Steven Duggar (shoulder surgery), the likely Opening Day center fielder, just finished his rehab work in Arizona. He'll return to be checked later this month and then start a hitting program the first week of January. Austin Slater went down the last week of the season with an elbow sprain, but the young outfielder has started a throwing program and also is on schedule. 

Finally, there's a player who never made it back to the big leagues after a concussion. Shelley said Mac Williamson was cleared of symptoms in September and has had a normal offseason.

"He should be on schedule to compete for a job in spring training," Shelley said.

Williamson is out of options, so next spring is a big one for a player who looked headed for a breakout before he went down.