San Francisco Giants: Don’t Let Offensive Failure Overshadow Suarez

DENVER, CO - JULY 4: Andrew Suarez #59 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a game at Coors Field on July 4, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 4: Andrew Suarez #59 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a game at Coors Field on July 4, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

It’s easy to look past Andrew Suarez‘s performance on Wednesday, but he deserves plenty of praise for the way he continues to handle himself.

The big story for the San Francisco Giants coming out of Coors Field was their complete ineptitude at the liveliest ballpark in baseball. After Gorkys Hernandez opened the series with a first-pitch home run on Monday, the offense went flat in the mountains. Following the blast, the Giants would score just two runs and collect a meager 13 hits in the ensuing 27 innings.

It was a total failure, especially considering the way the Giants played in Arizona against the first-place Diamondbacks. They completely erased the good feelings that came from the sweep, which got them to within 2.5 games of the division lead. Their three runs in the three-game series at Coors Field is by far the fewest they’ve ever scored in a series at the park.

That is a major problem, and one the team will certainly need to work to fix in the coming months. And it’s one that overshadows one of the more major developments on Wednesday. Andrew Suarez was stunningly good at a ballpark that has, on numerous occasions, swallowed up rookie pitchers and spit them out with their confidence totally drained.

The 25-year-old didn’t fall into that category. He stepped on to the mound at high altitude having come off a fantastic month of June, and threw his heart out in his second start at Coors Field. He matched his career-high by throwing seven innings, scattering five hits and allowing just one run. He struck out six, and as is becoming the norm with Suarez, he didn’t put extra pressure on himself by giving up free passes.

More from Golden Gate Sports

When Suarez did get into trouble, he was able to wiggle out of by getting through the heart of the Rockies’ lineup. With a runner on second and one out in the first inning, Suarez did something that not many Giants’ pitchers have done: he retired Nolan Arenado. He kept the slugger off-balance with fastballs and sliders on the inner half of the plate, then fooled him with a curveball for strike three.

As if once wasn’t impressive enough, Suarez did it again later in the game. Arenado came up to the plate in another RBI situation in the third inning, facing Suarez with two in scoring position and one out. The southpaw pounded a slider in on his hands, coaxing an easy pop-up in foul territory for the second out. Suarez would end the frame without allowing a run.

Really, just one mistake separated Suarez from seven shutout innings and seven innings of one-run ball. In the seventh inning, he threw a full-count slider to Chris Iannetta, and it didn’t get far enough in on his hands. Iannetta turned on it and lifted it, and the ball hit the fair/foul pole to give the Rockies the only run they’d score, and the only run they’d need.

On most days, one run allowed in seven innings would be enough to win, especially at Coors Field, but that’s not on Suarez. The rookie gave the Giants every chance to win, as he has done nearly every time out this year. It was an outstanding effort, one that doesn’t deserve to be overlooked because of the failures on the other side of the ball.

Everything Suarez has done over the past month or so has earned him his spot in the rotation. He has been tested time and time again, and he continues to pass with flying colors. He’s been pitching for his life in the rotation, taking the mound with the knowledgethat Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija have been breathing down his neck. That hasn’t impacted his poise, his confidence, or his abilities.

Next: Giants Continue to Add to Farm System

Suarez was thrust into a role that the Giants couldn’t have envisioned him in when the season started. But openings create opportunities, and players have to take advantage. Suarez has taken advantage to the fullest extent, and with his rotation spot seemingly secured for now, he can erase any doubt by continuing to do what he’s been doing.