Hello, it’s me, author of the hit trilogy Carlos Rodón and Home Runs: The Greatest Love Story of our Time. Due to the popularity of the series, I briefly considered turning it into a tetralogy.
But due to being an egotistical artist, I decided to eschew the successful series that people were clamoring for, and take off in a new direction (while espousing artistic integrity, of course), which will surely be less popular and draw great ire. Worry not; there’s still plenty of time for me to become a sellout and offer up the fourth installment of the Carlos Rodón and Home Runs series when I realize that my third vacation home isn’t gonna fund itself (or at least not with those numerous spousal support payments).
For now, though, allow me to introduce you to the first book in my new series: Carlos Rodón and Two-Out Singles: The New Greatest Love Story of our Time.
Catchy, isn’t it? It was important for me to separate myself from the first trilogy with an original title that didn’t at all draw on the old series. I needed to get away from this bit, as it was getting stale.
I think this new series is quite original, don’t you?
Rodón and the San Francisco Giants found themselves in quite a pitching matchup against Tarik Skubal and the Detroit Tigers. The two entered the game as the No. 7 and No. 10 pitchers in all of baseball, per Fangraphs WAR.
The Giants lefty got the better of the Tigers lefty in part because Rodón was able to keep his pitch count low, especially early. Through three innings Rodón had needed just 39 pitches, and Skubal had already thrown 76. He’d end up making it to the fifth inning but get pulled before finishing it, with a grand total of 108 pitches.
Rodón, on the other hand, would cruise through six innings before getting an early bedtime after just 86 pitches.
But while Rodón was on autopilot, the Giants couldn’t get the type of hits they try to sell you in the magazines. You know the ones: they get big, glossy pictures; descriptions that only partially make sense; and the label of “sexy,” even though the only time you’ve thought anything in baseball was sexy was when looking at Brandon Crawford’s face or Joe Panik’s booty.
No, the Giants had but one extra-base hit: a double that Joc Pederson (who had just 24 plate appearances against lefties entering the game) hit off of Skubal (who had held lefties to a .646 OPS prior to Tuesday).
That double put runners at second and third with one out, but Darin Ruf hit into an unproductive ground out.
Suddenly the Giants needed a hit to avoid wasting a nice rally. Enter Evan Longoria.
It happened again in the fifth inning. Ruf drew a two-out walk, which ended Skubal’s night. A righty came in to face Longoria, who singled, and the Giants two burly baserunners advanced 90 feet following a wild pitch.
Mike Yastrzemski, positively stoked at the prospect of facing a right-hander for the first time all night, did his best Longoria impression. 9.5/10, Yaz.
Two outs, two hits under 80 mph, four runs. It’s not what I would call a sustainable path to victory, but it sure as hell worked on Tuesday.
It worked in part because Yaz contributed in the field, too. He did so in the fourth with his left hand.
And he did so in the eighth with his right hand.
Jumpman, Jumpman, Jumpman, that boy's to something pic.twitter.com/N5l9Xk5BsO— SFGiants (@SFGiants) June 29, 2022
Get you someone who can do both.
But it wasn’t just Yaz’s defensive highlights or Rodón’s general ace-iness that allowed the four-run cushion to be enough.
It was the Brian Wilson-esque torturous circus acts the team went through on multiple occasions.
Rodón only got into trouble in his sixth and final inning when, after allowing his only run of the night, he found himself with two on and two out. Then he painted the corners with outrageous precision against local kid Spencer Torkelson, earning an emphatic strikeout.
In the seventh, John Brebbia allowed back-to-back doubles to lead things off. It cost him a run, but the second hitter would get stranded at second as Brebbia set down the next three batters.
In the eighth, Dominic Leone allowed a third Tigers run to score, then loaded the bases. In came the eternally unflappable Camilo Doval, and while my annoying and useless brain was sending out its constant reminder that Doval had serious walk issues at every level before magically ridding himself of them in the Majors, and perhaps that’s not very sustainable, Doval struck out Jonathan Schoop on the type of pitch that will make a big league hitter reconsider their profession.
One-run lead.— SFGiants (@SFGiants) June 29, 2022
Enter clutch Camilo… pic.twitter.com/riBYp0cB81
Just for fun, Doval added a four-pitch walk in the ninth inning, only to wipe it away immediately with a game-ending double play in which Ruf earned his surname by stretching in a manner that any self-respecting dog would appreciate.
Double play to end the game pic.twitter.com/oQVZgEU6jw— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) June 29, 2022
Giants win 4-3. Dodgers lose. It was a good day.