San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Dereck Rodriguez was given a tough assignment. He was tasked with keeping the Giants in the game against a red-hot Athletics team. And, he exceeded expectations.
In an effort to control his innings, Rodriguez spent the last turn in the rotation in the bullpen. The goal was to keep him fresh. However, when a pitcher gets out of his routine, it can be concerning to see how he rebounds in the next start.
This was not a problem for Rodriguez. He may have looked a little rusty in the first 2 innings. Despite this, he remained effective against a tough A’s lineup. In the first time through the lineup, he looked a little vulnerable. There were some loud hits. And, his curveball did not have the same type of bite we have come to expect.
However, by the 3rd inning, Rodriguez had returned to his normal self. He was stingy with allowing contact, and did not give up a walk. He did, however, hit 2 A’s batters so he did not totally have command of all of his pitches.
One thing that has been impressive with Rodriguez is how he attacks the zone. It is an approach that is beyond his years. He does not give up many free passes. And, he does not allow his pitch count to accumulate by going deep into the count batter after batter.
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This approach was on display tonight. He attacked the hitters, and kept them off-balance with his 4-pitch repertoire.
In addition to this, he recorded 5 strike outs. The Athletics lineup is a team that can be prone to striking out, and Rodriguez took advantage of this. He consistently got ahead with his fastball, and relied on his offspeed to finish off the hitters. This is something we see more and more from Rodriguez.
Rodriguez finished the game going 6.1 innings. He did give up one run, but got the win anyway. Both Andrew McCutchen and Ryder Jones gave Rodriguez just enough run support to prevent a Caining. Jones, who may only be up for one night, hit a loud home run off the right field foul pole. Good aim, buddy.
It is that time of the season where every game feels like a must-win game. And, Rodriguez rose up to the challenge. The San Francisco Giants only need to win 1 of the next 2 games against the A’s to take the series. They have Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto lined up to pitch those games. Let’s see if one or both can do their best Dereck Rodriguez impression.