MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Bochy seeks fix to Giants' post-break blues

Skipper hoping offense can find 'magic wand' in Colorado

Bochy seeks fix to Giants' post-break blues

DENVER -- The struggle has become a concern. And Giants manager Bruce Bochy admits it.

"We are better than this," Bochy said.

Hey, even the hitter-friendly environment of Coors Field failed to provide San Francisco any relief on Monday afternoon. It's not just that the Giants lost to the Rockies, 6-0, and that Chad Bettis became the first Rockies pitcher to complete a game this season, giving up just two hits.

"Don't take anything away from him, he was masterful," Bochy said.

The Giants? Well, it's not that they struggled on Monday that is concerning. It's that this has been ongoing for 52 days, ever since the All-Star break, when San Francisco had a best-in-baseball 57-33 record, and a 6 1/2-game lead in the National League West.

Since then? Well, the Giants enter Tuesday four games back in the NL West, and they have been struggling. San Francisco is 8-16 since Aug. 11 and a Majors-worst 16-31 since the All-Star break.

The Giants do lead the NL Wild Card race, but they are just a half-game ahead of the Cardinals, who are just a game up on the Mets for the No. 2 spot.

"We're better than this," Bochy said. "We've been here too long."

Where are they?

Well, Bettis joined Jeff Francis, against the Cards on June 24, 2006, in allowing the fewest hits in a shutout at Coors Field in Rockies history. He faced only 29 batters -- Eduardo Nunez singled with two out in the fifth and Trevor Brown doubled to open the sixth.

Bettis throws first shutout

That's far from what the Giants envisioned when they arrived at Coors Field, known for its hitter-friendly moments. But then this post-All-Star portion of the season hasn't been anything like what San Francisco anticipated.

Oh, the Giants knew there would be some lean times. That's part of a 162-game schedule. But looking for a chance to claim what would be their fourth World Series championship in seven years, San Francisco has been held to five or fewer hits 17 times, and three or fewer runs 25 times.

The Giants averaged 3.81 runs in those 47 games, 14th in the NL, barely better than a Phillies team that has averaged 3.79.

"We're looking for a magic wand," Bochy said, kidding, it was assumed. "I had mentioned [before the game] that this could get us right. We could have some good swings [at Coors Field] and make good contact. We didn't."

They grounded out 15 times, struck out seven, lined out once, popped up twice and flied out twice -- Span leading off the fourth with a lazy fly ball to center and Angel Pagan flying out to right to end the sixth.

Surprised? Well, they have been limited to four or five hits in five consecutive games, the franchise's longest such stretch since at least 1913, which is as far back as the STATS, Inc. database can confirm.

Yes, Matt Moore was the victim of a six-run Rockies third inning on Monday, but Bochy admitted, "At that stage of the game, we were still in a game here." Not that it mattered. The Giants had only one batter even get into scoring position -- Brown who led off the sixth with a double and was still at second base three outs later.

And this is not a blip on the radar, as Bochy admitted. The Giants have scored three or fewer runs in 25 of the 47 games since the All-Star break, including being shut out six times. They have been held to five or fewer hits 17 times and were two-hit for the third time.

Looking to provide some rest and relief, Bochy gave Brandon Crawford and Pagan the day off Sunday, although they both pinch-hit in a 3-2, 13-inning loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Catcher Buster Posey had Monday off, and with lefty Tyler Anderson scheduled to start for the Rockies on Tuesday, first baseman Brandon Belt and center fielder Denard Span could both be given a rest.

"We'll see if it freshens them up," Bochy said.

He paused.

"We're better than this," he added.

Tracy Ringolsby is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.