You’ve heard this story before. You’ve heard this story before because I’ve told you this story before.
On April 26, the Giants beat the A’s 8-2. This was my headline:
Well I’m here to tell you that some things age like fine wine.
Examples of such things are myself, Albert Pujols, and fine wine.
And also Carlos Rodón and home runs.
On the third pitch of the Giants game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, in a 2-0 count, Luis González (who is starting to display a Beltian ability to work counts), did this:
Three pitches and the Giants had all the runs they would need.
Not all the runs they would get, mind you. They’d get a second one, but I need to set the table for it before explaining it.
Immediately after González’s homer, Mike Yastrzemski walked, which was followed up by an Evan Longoria double play ground ball.
The next inning was led off by a Brandon Belt double (welcome back, BB9), followed by a Thairo Estrada walk and a Tommy La Stella single to load the bases. Then Brandon Crawford struck out and Austin Wynns ground into a double play.
The third inning inning began with a González walk and, two pitches later, Yastrzemski lined into a double play.
It was a touch comical, and the only logical thing to do was start hitting solo home runs.
Enter Joc Pederson.
Pederson’s long ball broke the curse. Belt walked immediately afterwards, and Estrada hit a ground ball that looked like yet another double play, but he beat it out for a fielder’s choice. After three double plays in as many innings, the Giants would avoid the two-out bummer for the rest of the game (though they had only one more hit with a runner on base all game).
Those two runs were plenty though because Rodón was capital D, capital E, capital A, capital L, capital I, ca.....you get where I’m going here. He was DEALING.
It was a joy to witness.
He needed just 45 pitches to get through four innings. A mild-mannered single with two outs in the fifth ended a no-hit bid.
He absolutely pounded the strike zone with relentless fervor, throwing 71 of 98 pitches for strikes. He came oh-so-close to having a perfectly well-rounded strike-throwing night, as 18 pitches were strikes on foul balls, 18 pitches were called strikes, 18 pitches were swinging strikes, and 17 pitches were balls in play.
Speaking of repeating numbers, it was his fourth straight game throwing exactly 98 pitches. And the game before that streak started? 99 pitches. The game before that? 100.
But if there’s been one weakness in a brilliant season for the team’s biggest free agent signing, it’s been that pitch count. Those previous three games throwing 98 pitches resulted in outings that lasted a mere five, four, and six innings. For all his dominance, he’d recorded an out in the seventh inning just once in 12 starts.
On Friday he went eight strong innings, and only looked better towards the end of the night. He allowed just two hits — both singles — and two walks. He struck out eight.
And when the time came for him to get the prestigious bullpen managerial hug, rather than the less-fun pitching mound managerial butt pat, Rodón handed the ball to young Camilo Doval who, as a kind courtesy, opted to avoid torture for a night.
Giants win 2-0. After all these
years months, Carlos Rodón and home runs is still the greatest love story of our time.