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Giants @ Padres, 3/30

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Dereck Rodríguez (RHP) vs. Nick Margevicius (LHP) — wait, who?

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

The Giants did not win yesterday or the day before primarily because they went up against two tough lefties. Now, before you impugn the good names of Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi, recall that all lefties are tough lefties against the Giants. But tonight — tonight — it’s game on. The Giants have a chance to carry the energy over from their failed but exciting ninth inning rally to face off against the Padres’ rookie pitcher Nick Margevicius (actual name), who —

Gottdammit, he’s left-handed, too? And he’s just 22? And he’s never pitched above A-ball? Well, then he must be some kind of high strikeout fireballer who

Margevicius has the qualities of a finesse lefty. His fastball sat in the 88-to-90 mph range, touching 91, with above-average armside movement and riding life when he was up in the zone. He will mix an infrequent cutter to righties in the mid-80s, showing pitchability and knowing when to change looks at the heater.

And just what makes the Padres think this will be effective against a major league lineup, even if that lineup is the San Francisco Giants?

His best off-speed pitch was a low-70s curveball with 11-to-5 shape.

Ah, yep. No, yeah, I see it now. This is a pitcher primed to befuddle the Giants and besmirch their proud name. A.J. Preller and Andy Green are a couple of lunatics. Or at the very least extreme jerks. All these shenanigans to pants the lowly Giants? I guess when you have the chance to make anyone look bad because you can, you’ve got to take it. Make no mistake, the Padres are aiming to make the Giants look bad. Marvecius didn’t figure into the Padres’ plans in the offseason, but after signing Manny Machado and recognizing that with the Chargers’ departure they have a chance to become San Diego’s team, they’re not taking any chances. Behold —

It’s conventional wisdom among Giants fans that when the team faces a pitcher they’ve never seen before and especially a pitcher who has recently been called up they’re going to struggle. Not even look like a major league lineup. Add in the more important wrinkle that he’s left-handed and Nick Margevicius is already just unfair.

The soft-tossing lefty storyline is a bit of a misdirection, though. Even if he’s never pitched above A-ball, he’s still managed to record 208 strikeouts in 183 strikeouts since 2017, good for a 10.3 strikeouts per 9. Not suggesting he’s going to replicate that in his very first start, but dude is used to recording strikeouts, and his first major league start will be against the right lineup:

Meanwhile, Dereck Rodríguez, the Giants’ 2018 rookie of the year, makes his season debut tonight, and he’s sort of the exact opposite of Margevicius. He’s never been much of a strikeout pitcher (7.8 per 9 in five minor league seasons), but he’s been effective enough. His 2.81 ERA in 118.1 last season was awfully shiny, but his 3.74 FIP was more telling, though not as declarative as his 6.8 strikeouts per 9 and 4.76 xFIP... the declaration being, “Uhhhhh, no.” The good news is it’s a new season, and we get to see what adjustments he’s made in the offseason. Here’s the lineup he’ll be facing: