Heliot Ramos

What we learned as Giants sweep Rockies with fourth straight win

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SAN FRANCISCO -- It's never a good idea to say you need a sweep, but given how bad the Giants looked in Boston and Philadelphia on the last road trip, they really could have used one at Coors Field. After a blowout loss on the final day of that trip, manager Bob Melvin was honest about how disappointing it was to come up short.

On Sunday, the Giants did seal the deal. With a 4-1 win over the Colorado Rockies, they picked up their first sweep of the 2024 MLB season and extended their winning streak to four games. The Rockies had shockingly won seven straight coming into the series, but the Giants hammered Colorado's poor pitching staff for three days and finished with a 6-3 homestand.

A few days ago, these two teams looked poised to battle for last in the NL West. But the Giants now are just half a game behind the San Diego Padres, who hold the third and final wild-card spot in a National League filled with mediocrity. 

The Giants needed to stop the bleeding on this homestand and they did, with young outfielders emerging as potential stars and some veterans finding their way. They'll now take a third consecutive road trip to the Eastern Time Zone, although this one should be a bit easier, with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the slumping New York Mets on the schedule. 

Did He Think He Was At Coors?

It's pretty normal for hitters to dramatically improve their stats against the Rockies. But usually they do it in Denver. 

Matt Chapman entered this series with a .206 average and .258 on-base percentage, but he absolutely torched the Rockies for three days and got a little bit of (painful) help, as well. Chapman was hit twice in the series but also had eight hits. With an infield single in the fifth, he reached base for an 11th consecutive plate appearance, a streak that ended up in seventh. 

Chapman raised his average by 33 points and his OBP by 43 points in a little under 48 hours. 

Short Day

Jordan Hicks allowed just three hits and one run, which came on a Ryan McMahon homer in the first inning, but the Giants starter certainly didn't appear to be anywhere close to his best. Hicks was pulled after just 72 pitches, a season-low, and his velocity was down all afternoon.

Hicks averaged 91.7 mph with his sinker, a drop of more than three mph from his average this season. There shouldn't be any injury concerns, as he dialed it up to 96 when he needed to get out of the fifth after loading the bases, but perhaps fatigue is starting to set in. Hicks has thrown 53 innings through 10 starts and is just 24 2/3 innings from his career-high for an entire season. 

Even with diminished velocity, Hicks continued to dominate. He has allowed fewer than three runs in eight of his 10 starts and ranks fifth in the NL with a 2.38 ERA. 

Ramos Rocket

The three-run fifth inning probably won't make the World Series DVD. A bloop from Curt Casali put runners on the corners, Chapman drove in a run with a ball that was hit too softly for the infield to convert into an out, and a third run scored when McMahon booted Luis Matos' routine grounder to third. 

But an inning later, the Giants scored in a much more aesthetically-pleasing way. Heliot Ramos hit a bomb to dead center, picking up his first homer of the year and just his second in 45 big league games. 

Ramos jumped on a 2-0 fastball from right-hander Victor Vodnik and hit a high fly ball that kept carrying and carrying until it dropped just over the wall in center. The homer raised his average to .300 and OPS to .799, and he should get at least another week to make his case to stay in the big leagues. Michael Conforto is doing well in his recovery from a hamstring strain, but he might not return until after the upcoming road trip. 

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