SAN FRANCISCO — Before Monday’s game, manager Bruce Bochy said he has no concerns about the innings piling up in Dereck Rodriguez’s rookie season. He proved it four hours later.
Rodriguez was at 102 pitches through six innings but went back out for the seventh. He ended up allowing one earned in 6 1/3, lowering his ERA to 2.35 while throwing 110 pitches.
At the All-Star break, the Giants mapped out second-half schedules for both Rodriguez and fellow rookie Andrew Suarez and figured they could get to about 180 innings pretty easily if the team stayed in contention. This group is nowhere close to the race, but both young pitchers are still going strong. Rodriguez has thrown 103 1/3 big league innings and 50 1/3 more in Triple-A. Suarez, who starts Tuesday, is at 162 2/3 across the same two levels.
“It’s shaping up about how we thought,” Bochy said.
After Tuesday night, each should have three starts left, and their final starts could have big implications. It’s possible Rodriguez and Suarez will have a chance to try to knock the Dodgers out of the postseason over the final weekend of the season at AT&T Park. Bochy said the plan is for both to stay in the rotation through 162 games, and there are no signs of trouble. Rodriguez has been one of the National League’s best pitcher for three months and Suarez pushed past some brief struggles last month.
“They’re doing well,” Bochy said. “You look at the delivery and the stuff — they’re holding up well. They’re two strong kids who don’t even seem to be thinking about where they’re pitching (on the calendar).”
In the past, Bochy has pushed some young pitchers past their comfort zone so they know they have more in the tank when needed. Rodriguez got that treatment Monday. Bochy liked what he saw in the sixth and Nick Hundley said Rodriguez was still strong. It helped that the rookie wanted more. He asked Bochy for the seventh and got it.
“I told him I was good,” Rodriguez said. “I wanted to go back out there. Regardless of the (pitch count) I felt good. That was awesome that he has confidence in me to let me go back out there having thrown so many pitches.”