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Giants @ Reds, 5/5

Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 3.73 FIP) vs. Luis Castillo (3-1, 2.81 FIP)

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Great American Ball Park Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Well, last night’s game sucked. The Giants couldn’t mount another huge rally because what they had done on Friday night was something they hadn’t done in nearly 30 years.

Making matters worse, Dereck Rodriguez’s decent into what his peripherals have always suggested coupled with really bad command and control felt demoralizing. It was irresponsible to take anything meaningful about the season away from Friday’s big comeback, but we’re now 154.1 innings into Rodriguez’s career and things are getting kinda hairy.

On the other hand, Jeff Samardzija has remained serviceable. His strikeouts per 9 has plummeted to a career-low 7.0 (8.1 career rate) and his walks per 9 have ticked up a bit (2.8 versus 2.7 for the career), but he’s been effective-ish, averaging 5.1 innings per start through his first six. For what it’s worth, historically, Samardzija has been pretty good against the Reds. Yes, a 4.00 ERA in 90 IP, but an 8.9 strikeouts per 9 and an 89:32 K:BB ratio. And, yes, he’s given up a bunch of home runs, too. But still! He’s been solid.

Here’s the Reds’ lineup:

Meanwhile, Evan Longoria’s shoulder is still hurting and the scuffling Brandon Crawford takes a “scheduled” off day. Crawford has just three extra base hits this season, all doubles.

Of course, the Giants will be facing former prospect Luis Castillo, subject of this great Grant Brisbee piece over on The Athletic (subscription required) from Friday. Not only has he allowed just two home runs in 43.1 IP so far this season, he’s also struck out 50 and allowed just 7 runs (1.45 ERA). As I noted in our series preview:

Given that his entire career has been captured by Statcast, let’s take a quick look at his pitch arsenal over time. He’s a four-pitch pitcher: 4-seam FB, changeup, sinker, slider. Check out these velocity and whiff (swing-and-miss) rates:

4-seamer: 2017 — 97.4 mph (23.6% whiff) | 2018 — 95.8 mph (19.5%) | 95.8 mph (30.3%)
Changeup: 2017 — 87.2 mph (43.2%) | 2018 — 86.2 mph (43.1%) | 87.0 mph (50.8%)
Sinker: 2017 — 96.9 mph (11.3%) | 2018 — 95.6 mph (12.6%) | 96.1 mph (10.9%)
Slider: 2017 — 84.9 mph (37.6%) | 2018 — 83.6 mph (40.8%) | 85.3 mph (38.9%)

Taken together, he would’ve been the best pitcher on the Giants (by far) since 2017.

David Bell has been ejected three times already this season. If the Giants somehow get to the ace of the Reds’ staff — a feat they shouldn’t be able to accomplish, given the numbers — then maybe we’ll see ejection #4? That would be something for a rookie manager.

On the other hand, Bruce Bochy has already been ejected from two games this season. He hasn’t been ejected from more than two games over the course of a full season since 2015.