As Andrew Baggarly reported last night, Dereck Rodríguez is a huge nerd.
Lego sets. Funko figurines. Comic books. Anything with a Batman logo stenciled on it. Rodríguez reached into his locker and produced a shiny Batarang mounted on a lacquered frame ...
He connected with DC Comics long before he took to the mound.
That makes him the most second-most outspoken nerd on the team overall, behind Hunter Hearthstone Pence, but the #1 DC Comics fan. This is important because it means he missed out on a huge event on his DC geek calendar: San Diego Comic Con.
This weekend, comic book and pop culture geeks gathered in San Diego to fawn over the latest batch of superhero entertainment at the convention center. Warner Bros. scheduled the huge Hall H — hey... wait... “H” as in huge? Is that... is that why Hall H is huge? Holy cow, I just now realized this — to show trailers and clips from a bunch of upcoming action and genre movies. They also carved out a 2-hour block where they just went nuts talking about all the new DC Comics-based movies planned for release over the next year (Warner Bros. holds the film and TV rights for DC Comics material).
But Dereck Rodriguez couldn’t make it to Comic Con and since he was on the clock with the Giants all afternoon through the entire presentation, he won’t be able to watch the various presentations until he gets back to his place much later tonight. Maybe we’ll get an update from Baggarly before tomorrow’s game, but what’s the fan in that? Let’s try to guess his reactions.
Before I do that, though, let me remind you that he has two sleeve tattoos: one of Batman and the Joker, one of Harley Quinn (Joker’s girlfriend) and Catwoman (Batman’s “girlfriend”). And he put some thought into it, too:
“I didn’t really want to go with Halle Berry. So I went with the original, Michelle Pfeiffer.”
I kinda... hmm. I don’t know how to feel about that. I was born after the original Batman TV series came and went and watched Adam West do his thing when it was in reruns (thanks, KOFY-TV Batmarathons!), but I still knew that the original Catwoman was Lee Meriwether, Julie Newmar, and Eartha Kitt. Good god, I’m old.
But this isn’t about the cruel march of time and this latest reminder of my mortality. This is about Dereck Rodriguez’s obvious obsession with DC Comics and, specifically, the Batman. He’ll be all over this DC Comics panel from earlier today. Here’s what they presented in Hall Huge earlier today. Beneath each one is my guess as to his reaction:
Wonder Woman 1984
Gal Gadot returns in the sequel to the 2017 hit film but this time, instead of the Germans in World War I, she fights Kristen Wiig, who plays the villain Cheetah. The footage screened shows Wonder Woman fighting a pair of armed thugs in a mall food court that’s brightly lit like one you’d find in the eighties. Then there’s a shot of her running really, really fast through the streets.
Personally, I hated growing up in the eighties. It always felt stuffy, temperature-wise, like there was never enough air conditioning or clean air, the clothes were annoying, and the music of the era created the medical condition known as migraines (do not fact check this).
Rodríguez’s reaction: “Dope.”
Rodríguez’s reaction: “Cool. Wait — is that Chuck? Cool.”
Rodríguez’s reaction: “Gotta get my hair to flow like that.”
Let’s just be glad that none of this stuff came out before his start yesterday. Obviously, he would’ve been too distracted. This is the perfect “day after my start” surprise. He gets to relax and geek out after pitching 6.1 strong innings. It must feel like a streak of good fortune where in the world seems to revolve around him and his interests.
Anyway, if you want a scintilla of analysis, here you go:
Last night, I pointed out that Rodríguez might need to alter his pitching approach, as he throws his 4-seam fastball the most but would be facing a team with three hitters who demolish 4-seamers (Jed Lowrie, Mark Canha, and Khris Davis). Did he change his approach?
Nope. Per Statcast, he threw his 4-seam fastball 26 times out of 93 pitches (38.7%), so, he actually threw it more than he does on average. He only threw it twice apiece to Davis and Canha (Davis fouled one off and doubled off another; Canha hit a flyout and the other was a ball way out of the zone), but threw it 7 times out of 12 pitches against Lowrie, who was rated as the best against the 4-seam fastball. He hit into an out on one of them, took three for strikes, fouled one off, and took two for balls.
So, overall, he didn’t alter his approach, opting for the tried-and-true “trust your stuff” method employed by most pitchers. It paid off. He looked fantastic.