DENVER — What’s the difference between a 4-6 record and a 3-7 record?

The obvious answer is: one game. But for the Giants on another cold day in Colorado on Thursday, one game meant a lot.

“Today would’ve been a big swing game for us,” said manager Bob Melvin after San Francisco lost the series finale against the Rockies at Coors Field, 9-1.

“It would’ve been a lot better to go 4-6 [on this road trip]. Not that that’s anything to shout about, but 3-7 is a bad trip.”

It was, indeed, a bad road trip for the Giants, their longest of the season and one they’d like to forget about. They dropped two of three against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, then were swept in four games by the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, and after winning the first two games of their series against Colorado, falling in the finale with a sluggish performance all around.

Keaton Winn strikes out Ryan McMahon

So where does all of this leave the Giants as they return home to begin a nine-game homestand on Friday against the Reds?

Here’s a breakdown of the road trip by the numbers and what they mean for San Francisco in a season that began with renewed hope following the signings of Jung Hoo Lee, Jorge Soler, Matt Chapman and Blake Snell:

When the Giants arrived in Boston to open a three-game set with the Red Sox on April 30, they knew they had to get their bats going. After finishing near the bottom of baseball in most offensive categories in 2023 — 28th in batting average (.235), 27th in slugging percentage (.383) and 24th in runs scored (674), to name a few — San Francisco’s offense hadn’t fared much better despite adding some notable bats via free agency.

As of April 30, it was significantly better in the batting average department (.245), but had an identical slugging percentage (.383) and ranked 22nd with 116 runs scored. The club’s standing got worse over the 10-game road trip — outside of the two wins over the Rockies, the Giants’ lineup averaged 2.1 runs per game.

Wilmer Flores' smooth play

The Giants embarked on the just-completed trip one game under .500, at 14-15. When they boarded their flight home from Denver, they found themselves five games under, at 17-22.

“We left one game under .500,” Melvin said, “and we come back a lot worse.”

The starting rotation was supposed to be a strength for the Giants in 2024, particularly after they added Snell to a rotation led by 2023 NL Cy Young Award runner-up Logan Webb. But with Snell sidelined after struggling over his first three starts and Webb struggling in a pair of relatively short outings during the road trip, San Francisco’s starters posted a 7.28 ERA.

Much of the damage was charged to Keaton Winn, who surrendered 12 earned runs over 4 1/3 innings during the trip. That includes the seven runs he gave up over 3 2/3 innings against the Rockies on Thursday.

Colorado hitters ambushed Winn in the fourth, reeling off six straight hits to open the frame, including the big blow, a three-run homer by Brenton Doyle that made it 6-1.

“Just tried to enter the zone for a strike, and suddenly everything was floating up instead of down where it normally is,” Winn said of Thursday’s rough outing. “And they were swinging early.”

Randy Rodríguez strikes out Ezequiel Tovar

As the Giants foundered, the National League West-leading Dodgers reeled off seven consecutive wins. That widened San Francisco’s deficit in the division standings from four games to nine.

Momentum halted
In scoring 13 runs over their first two games against the Rockies, the Giants seemed as though they might be turning a corner. There was optimism that the focus and energy that went missing over the first seven games of the road trip had returned, particularly after Melvin’s team meeting in the wake of the sweep in Philadelphia.

A sweep of Colorado would have continued that resurgence and perhaps buoyed the club as it returned to the shores of the San Francisco Bay. Instead, the flight back to sea level was probably more a relief that the trip was over than an enthusiasm over the way it concluded.

It’s the difference one game can make.

“We just want to play better baseball over an extended period,” Melvin said when asked about being one of two teams — along with the Rockies — who haven’t won three consecutive games this season.