The San Francisco Giants were rolling against the San Diego Padres and Andrew Suarez was pitching a gem.
Suarez was pitching in his 27th game of the season and he had never pitched past the seventh inning.
And then, last night, Suarez was asked to start the eighth. In this new era of baseball, starters just don’t complete games anymore.
And one is also the total number of complete games thrown by Giants pitchers in 2018. That came from Chris Stratton, who pitched incredible, throwing a two hit shutout Friday against the Colorado Rockies.
Suarez went to the mound in the eighth inning trying to do something he had never done before. He came into the inning having already thrown 152.1 innings this season at the major league level. When you add another 23.1 innings in the minor leagues this season, the workload has started to add up.
He threw 155.2 innings last season in the minor leagues and 143.2 innings in 2016.
Suarez began the inning facing A.J. Ellis. Five pitches later, he had walked the lead off hitter. Pitches four and five were right at the zone, but Suarez did not get either call and Ellis was on base.
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Next up was Francisco Mejia, and in three pitches, he was gone. After the three pitch strikeout, Wil Myers came to the plate. Suarez induced a ground ball, but the Giants only got the force out at second and with two outs, Bochy made his decision.
Mark Melancon was being called from the bullpen and Suarez was not happy. He threw his arms up and slapped his glove against his side in frustration. Suarez had only thrown 87 pitches, and to be just four outs away from a complete game, he wanted a chance to finish.
Bochy took the ball from the rookie and, by the time Bochy returned to the dugout, Suarez was already ready with an apology.
But when asked about it after the game, it was clear there was nothing to apologize for. Bochy was happy to see Suarez upset, according to what he told reporters after the game:
"“I don’t want them to want to come out. He’s a competitor.”"
In a year of frustration for what might have been and what could have been, yesterday just wasn’t the day Andy Suarez was going to get a chance to record his first career complete game.
He wore that frustration for everyone to see and it showed the fire he has to compete.
As some fans look to this season as a disappointment, there is a clear message that Suarez sent last night.
Dereck Rodriguez is not the only rookie ready to have a big sophomore season in 2019. Suarez is ready to compete as well. And his manager couldn’t be happier to see it.