Yesterday’s game started off as a Madison Bumgarner shellacking but evolved into a good ol’ fashioned Coors Field slug fest that saw the Giants score 8 runs for the sixth time in 2018. Of course, they lost 9-8, but at this point in the season, it’s not about winning and losing, it’s about getting some playing time for younger players and playing time for older players singing their swan song.
Oh, but it’s also about bailing out the starting pitcher and reassigning a probable loss to the bullpen. That’s the best part about expanded rosters: plenty of players to chew up those earned runs, saving the starters from the ignominy of added Ls from games that don’t matter.
So, yeah, tonight’s game is all about the thrill of watching baseball.
As mentioned in the headline, Dereck Rodriguez will be making his Coors Field debut as a starter. That’s worth watching!
You can read more about this series in the Series Preview.
Chris Shaw starting in left field today pic.twitter.com/aFOObEsCzN— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) September 4, 2018
Dereck Rodriguez has been pretty good this season:
Thanks for playing. #SFGiants leader in bWAR is tonight's starting pitcher, Dereck Rodriguez at 2.5. Belt is at 2.4.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) September 4, 2018
He’s hovering right around that six innings per start mark, although he lasted only five in his previous game against the Texas Rangers. The most distressing part of that game was his career-high 4 walks. Still, a 3.30 FIP (2.47 ERA) on the season is fantastic, even if a .247 BAbip and 5.7% HR/FB rate is a little anxiety-inducing (particularly in Coors Field).
He made his major league debut right here in Colorado back on May 29th, in the Giants’ 11-4 loss pitching 3.1 innings and allowing 4 runs (only 1 earned). I noted in the recap that his stuff played well in Coors:
The kid was painting 95 mph fastballs on the black and throwing sliders that were juuuuusteffective enough at Coors Field to get Rockies hitters. He also got his first major league hit — a strong double to right center field. Remember, he’s a converted outfielder, so despite his poor track record hitting baseballs, he’s at least strongly familiar with the concept.
He relieved Jeff Samardzija who left the game with an injury (he made only two starts after that one) and left the game himself after taking a 108 mph line drive off his shin.
German Marquez’s season has been a bit up and down (4.81 ERA in the first half, 2.80 in the second half), but overall, solid (173 strikeouts in 157.2 innings, 4.1 bWAR). For his career, he’s been a full run better on thr road (3.72 ERA) than at home (4.96 ERA), and in 2018, the difference is even more striking.
Away: 4-6 (13 starts), 5.77 ERA | 68.2 IP, 77 K : 31 BB, 1.617 WHIP, 44 ER, 12 HR allowed
Home: 7-3 (14 starts), 2.83 ERA | 89.0 IP 96 K : 23 BB, 0.944 WHIP, 28 ER, 8 HR allowed
Still, he’s gone at least 7 innings in his last four starts (8 innings in his most recent, which was against the Padres in San Diego) and in seven of his last eight. The sole exception was a 6-inning, 10-hit, 10-strikeout, 4-3 loss to the Pirates in Colorado on August 8th.
He’s faced the Giants thrice in his career, most recently, last September in San Francisco. In 14.1 innings, he’s allowed 14 earned runs and 27 hits (3 home runs). Hundley, Longoria, Shaw, Slater, and Tomlinson don’t have any plate appearances against him. Of course, that’s about to change today. He’s not prepared for Chris Shaw.
Speaking of Jeff Samardzija, the Giants transferred him to the 60-day DL to make room for newly acquired shortstop Abiatal Avelino on the 40-man roster. They also called up Avelino along with Ryder Jones to join the Major League team. In case you were wondering...
#SFGiants new player pronounces his name ah-bee-ah-TAHL a-veh-LEE-no.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) September 4, 2018
I just want to put out there that Abi Avelino sounds like a pretty stellar name and Abi might fit into the Bochy nicknaming convention. “Abe” Avelino will probably work in a pinch and might even be favored by some fans, but to me, “Abi” Avelino sounds like a slick-fielding, clutch-hitting middle infielder and so that’s what I’m pushing.