Will the Giants ever win another game? Who knows! But what I do know is that you can still get this peerless Dereck Rodriguez t-shirt from our friends at BreakingT. He starts tonight, you know, and will give his teammates their best shot to win a game in this series. He’s been the team’s most consistent starter for the past couple of months, which is really saying something.
Can the Giants win tonight? Can they win a game at any point over these next 18 games? Part of the fun will be in watching them try. They’re in “accidental tank” mode right now, which is not a great situation to be in because it’s one of those uncontrollable situations that they didn’t foresee and didn’t plan for. A proper tank is like a controlled detonation.
Without any top prospects, we get to watch the Austin Slaters of the world try to figure out hot arms trying to pitch their teams into the playoffs. There’s no way the Braves should struggle against them, but what if they do? What if the combination of scrappy players and Dereck Rodriguez fustigate the Braves? That will give us at least a few innings of entertainment, anyway.
Dereck Rodriguez’s last start came in Coors Field. He allowed only 1 run in 6 innings while striking out six. By Game Score, it was the eighth-best start of the season (and career). His last two home starts (against the Diamondbacks and Rangers) were a little shakier (8 hits, 7 walks, 5 runs in 11 innings) than the quality starts he had previously (5 hits, 1 walk, 1 run allowed in 14 innings against the Pirates and Astros), so prediction-wise, it’s a bit of a toss-up here against the top-flight Atlanta offense.
25-year old Sean Newcomb (11-8, 4.18 FIP) has had a solid season. Just a nice, solid season, but also one that’s a tail of two haves. His ERA at the end of June was 2.71, but in the 11 starts since July 1st, it’s ballooned to 3.92, and his last five starts have been heckin’ rough:
7.99 ERA in 23.2 innings pitched, with an opponents’ OPS of .936 and .410 BAbip. He still has 24 strikeouts in those 23.2 innings pitched, but his season average of a 2:1 strikeout to walk has been a little bit lower over the previous five starts (15 walks). He does have the advantage, of course, because he’s a left-handed pitcher, and the Giants are tied with the Mets as the third-worst team in baseball against left-handed pitching (82 wRC+). They’re actually tied for first in the National League. Only the Royals and Orioles have been worse.
And Newcomb’s recent string of bad starts have largely come against super-powered lineups and playoff contenders. He gave up 12 hits and 5 runs in 4 innings against the Brewers, 9 hits and 7 runs in 5.1 innings against the Rockies, but then six shutout innings (and 8 strikeouts against the Marlins), only to follow that up with a combined 12 hits and 9 runs in 8.1 innings against the Rays and the Red Sox. Which of these things is not like the other and which of these things is most like the Giants?
This game will be simulcast on MLB Network.