|Potential trade partners, Giants, Rockies square off|
One team with an abundance of left-handed relievers and another possibly in the market for one go head-to-head Wednesday afternoon when the visiting Colorado Rockies take on the San Francisco Giants in the finale of a pitching-dominated, three-game series.
Right-handers German Marquez (7-3, 4.32 ERA) of the Rockies and Jeff Samardzija (4-6, 4.23) of the Giants hope they can duplicate efforts they produced the last time they faced Wednesday's opponent.
Rockies right-hander Jon Gray and righty relievers Jairo Diaz, Scott Oberg and Wade Davis combined on a six-hitter in the series opener Monday, delivering Colorado a 2-0 win.
The Giants used their two top lefty relievers, Tony Watson and Will Smith, to lock down a 4-2 win on Tuesday after lefty Madison Bumgarner tossed six innings and righty Sam Dyson handled the seventh.
Smith, the Giants' most likely All-Star as well as arguably their most valuable trade commodity, needed just 11 pitches to retire the Rockies in order in the ninth for his 21st save in the Tuesday win. Smith ranks third in the National League in saves.
The Rockies, meanwhile, released their most used lefty reliever, Mike Dunn, last weekend, leaving Jake McGee as their only left-hander out of the bullpen.
McGee worked a scoreless eighth inning Tuesday, but only after righty Bryan Shaw served up a home run to Tyler Austin that helped the Giants pad their lead in the seventh inning.
Whether it's Colorado or elsewhere, Smith seems resigned to the likelihood he's going to finish the season somewhere else.
"Right now, we'll play hard for the orange and black, and whatever happens, happens," he said recently about the nonstop trade rumors. "We'll cross that bridge when we get there."
Another area where the Giants demonstrated depth at a position of need for the playoff-contending Rockies on Tuesday night was at second base, with backup Donovan Solano contributing two hits, a run and an RBI to the win.
The Giants gave Joe Panik the night off.
The Rockies, meanwhile, watched their regular second baseman, Ryan McMahon, strike out four straight times, with little to offer in reserve.
McMahon's backup, Pat Valaika, got the call on Monday night and put the ball in play just once in his four at-bats, striking out three times.
Before Tuesday's game, Rockies manager Bud Black wondered aloud about Valaika's mindset in the midst of an 0-for-30 slump that has dropped his season average to .050.
"There's tension in Pat's swing," Black noted to reporters. "Pat has to relax and get back to basics. His timing's off; he's ahead on the breaking ball and behind on the fastball. Basically, the mechanics of his swing are fine. You don't get to the big leagues with a bad swing."
Marquez pitched a one-hit shutout when he faced the Giants on April 14. It was his first career win at San Francisco and improved his career record against the Giants to 1-3 with a 4.75 ERA in six starts.
Samardzija had similar success against the Rockies three days earlier, going the first seven innings of a 1-0 home win. He's 5-6 in his career against Colorado with a 3.71 ERA in 18 games, including 14 starts.
--Field Level Media