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Giants almost waste a strong start by Dereck Rodríguez, win in extras 3-2

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Rodríguez continued his campaign for Rookie of the Year consideration. Andrew McCutchen, who is still on the Giants, hit a dinger.

San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

I don’t know if my brain could have handled it if the Giants wasted a bases-loaded, nobody out situation and a leadoff triple in the same game. Thank you, Brandon Crawford for knocking in Evan Longoria after he tripled off the right field wall. Truly, you have saved my sanity. At least as much as it could be saved following two consecutive extra-inning games against the San Diego Padres.

It would have been very fitting for Dereck Rodríguez to pitch like he did and for the Giants to still lose. With the BABIP luck the Padres had—and the Giants didn’t have—I’m surprised it didn’t happen.

Rodríguez started off the first inning promisingly getting the first out on one pitch. He then stuck out Manuel Margot and got Wil Myers to a two-strike count. He couldn’t put Myers away, though, and he reached on an infield hit. Eric Hosmer then doubled down the right field line. The Giants were playing the outfield away because Hosmer has only pulled 15% of his of fly balls in his career. He didn’t hit the ball that hard—only 89 MPH—but it beat the defense. It was a bit like Brandon Belt hitting a grounder to a vacated third.

Rodríguez gave up the one run via BABIP-related nonsense, but he didn’t give the Padres much of a chance in the six subsequent innings. He finished the day with seven strikeouts over seven innings. He walked three, and one of those was the penultimate batter he faced. I’m a little amazed that Bruce Bochy let him stay in to finish the seventh after walking a batter on his 108th pitch. If there’s something different about the Giant’s organizational philosophy is that they seem to trust his rookies and young players* more. When Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto came back, the Giants trusted Rodríguez and Andrew Suárez instead of the guys with more experience, and now Bochy is letting a rookie finish an inning strong after showing some fatigue.

*As long as they’re not Austin Slater.

The decision to let Rodríguez finish the inning might have been made out of desire to save the bullpen after a 12-inning game (and Carlos Asuaje was coming up, so what was the worst that could have happened?), but Rodríguez has certainly earned that level of trust.

Mike Krukow described Clayton Richard as a “pitch-to-contact” guy, but the Giants continued to hit him hard. The Giants went hitless until Austin Slater’s hit in the fourth despite six batted balls at 95+ MPH. Nick Hundley smoked two balls to left but both went right at Myers. Chase d’Arnaud came mere feet from his second three-run dinger in as many days. Meanwhile, the Padres had two doubles hit at less than 90 MPH: the Hosmer double and another from Travis Jankowski aka the result of what would happen if Bronson Arroyo crawled into a teleporter with Evan Longoria.

As ineffectual as the offense has been, you figured the Giants would break through against Richard at some point, and they finally did in the fourth. They pieced together a run with consecutive singles from Slater, Brandon Crawford, and Hunter Pence. It’s a very Giants thing to load the bases with three hits in a row, and it would have been an even Giantsier thing to waste it. (Don’t worry, they did that in the eighth). Fortunately, Gorkys Hernández brought a run home with a sacrifice fly.

Andrew McCutchen, who was not traded today, led off the fifth with a solo home run. It would have made sense to trade McCutchen (and he could still be traded when the Giants sneak him through waivers), but I wasn’t ready to see him go just quite yet. He may be a roughly average major league starter, but he makes the Giants supremely more watchable. After 2017, that’s all I really wanted.

The Giants hit the ball hard all game long, but they didn’t have anything to show for it. While they had the lead, it was hard to get too upset about it. Nick Hundley alone had three balls hit at 102 MPH or above and he didn’t have a hit. The Giants have hit like nincompoops all month, but today it wasn’t their fault. It’s not like they can aim where the ball goes.

Maybe if Freddy Galvis didn’t field everything hit to the left side, the Giants would have scored more than three runs. Chase d’Arnaud made the second out at third on a grounder to short in this series, but I don’t think anyone was expecting Galvis to field that ball. If it gets by Galvis, d’Arnaud scores, but nothing gets by Galvis.

After the Giants wasted their bases-loaded, nobody out situation in the top of the eighth, Reyes Moronta walked Margot to begin the bottom half of the inning. It figures that in a day where the Giants lining the ball straight at the defense, the Padres would tie it after Margot went first to third on a slow grounder that perfectly split the defense. Really, this is Doug’s fault for his bullpen trust power rankings.

This is the part of the year where Reyes Moronta, after having earned our absolute faith and trust despite walking way too many guys all year long, will continue walking too many guys and it will bite him in the ass and we’ll all be like, “We always knew that would come back to haunt him.”

How very prescient of him.