Giants

Giants Notes: Dereck Rodriguez dominates, keeps special company in NL

Giants Notes: Dereck Rodriguez dominates, keeps special company in NL

SAN FRANCISCO — With a six-week stretch of dominance, Dereck Rodriguez has thrown his name right near the top of the Rookie of the Year race. He’s also keeping some special company in the National League. 

Rodriguez threw seven shutout innings before Will Smith blew it in the ninth inning of a 3-1 loss to the Astros, lowering his ERA to 2.34. There are only three NL starters who have thrown at least 70 innings and have an ERA below 2.35.

The list is Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Dereck Rodriguez. The first two are duking it out for the Cy Young Award and will likely get MVP votes. 

“We keep talking about what a great job he’s done,” manager Bruce Bochy said of his rookie right-hander, “And he just keeps getting better.”

Rodriguez broke in with Andrew Suarez, and while the right-hander continues to roll, Suarez has hit a rough patch. After Suarez gave up eight runs in Phoenix over the weekend, Bochy pumped the brakes on any panic, saying a skid is normal for a young starter. That’s true, of course. But Rodriguez has yet to find real trouble. He has given up four runs in four second-half starts and hasn’t allowed more than two runs since June 19. What has allowed him to keep rolling?

“He just has such great focus,” Bochy said. “He has four pitches with command. He’s got savvy. He knows what he’s going and what he wants to do. He’s got a good feel for pitching along with good stuff. He works the edges well and goes up and down. I just like how smart he is on the mound.”

Rodriguez showed that Monday. His fastball was down a couple ticks and he realized it early, so he spread the wealth. Rodriguez threw 21 four-seamers, 21 two-seamers, 18 changeups, 17 curveballs and 17 cutters. 

“I was trying to move the ball around more,” he said. 

The Astros had no answer for him. So far, nobody really has. 

--- Bochy made a change in the eighth, going with Reyes Moronta while Tony Watson and Sam Dyson warmed up. He said he’s going to use everyone in the eighth at this point. Ray Black was an option, too. Dyson later warmed up when Will Smith ran into trouble. 

--- My original focus tonight was going to be the defense up the middle. There was a sequence in the fifth that showed how the Giants are as good as anyone in that respect right now. Brandon Crawford made a slick scoop to rob Martin Maldonado of a hit. Jake Marisnick then hit a long fly ball to center that would have been trouble for most recent Giants center fielders. Steven Duggar chased it down easily. 

The play had a catch probability of just 37 percent, making it the fourth-toughest catch of the year for Giants outfielders. Duggar has been here 21 games and he has two of the top four and four of the top 10, according to catch probability. 

--- Roberto Osuna, who just served a 75-game suspension for domestic abuse, was the winning pitcher in his Astros debut. Osuna heard a few scattered boos as he took the mound, but this was nowhere near the level of noise heard when Josh Hader was here on the last homestand. 

Osuna’s transgression was obviously much, much worse, but it didn’t become anywhere near as public as Hader’s tweets. It’s an odd phenomenon. Hader went viral and got crushed. Osuna seems to have slipped a bit under the radar. Perhaps that will change as he gets around the league a bit more. 

--- If you missed it earlier, the Power Rankings have updates on a bunch of former Giants, including Andrew Susac, Phil Bickford, Adalberto Mejia, George Kontos and Matt Moore. 

Chase d'Pitcher? Watch the infielder take the mound for Giants in blowout loss

Chase d'Pitcher? Watch the infielder take the mound for Giants in blowout loss

On April 28, Pablo Sandoval took the mound in a Giants blowout and pitched a perfect inning against the Dodgers.

Nearly four months later, Chase d'Arnaud was called on to pitch in a lost-cause game and almost matched Sandoval.

With the Giants trailing 11-4 in Cincinnati on Sunday, Bruce Bochy had d'Arnaud pitch the bottom of the eighth inning.

The first batter d'Arnaud faced, All-Star third baseman Eugenio Suarez, flew out to right field. Reds right fielder Phillip Ervin ruined d'Arnaud's big for a perfect inning by singling to right. Pinch hitter Preston Tucker followed by flying out to center field. d'Arnaud retired the side by getting second baseman Dilson Herrera to fly out to right field.

Watch the highlights from d'Arnaud's inning of work above.

Giants swept by lowly Reds in Cincinnati, sink deeper into hole

Giants swept by lowly Reds in Cincinnati, sink deeper into hole

BOX SCORE

CINCINNATI -- Eugenio Suarez and the Cincinnati Reds closed out a nice weekend with another solid day at the plate.

It was quite a response to a tough series against Cleveland.

Suarez hit a two-run homer during Cincinnati's seven-run third inning, and the Reds swept the San Francisco Giants with an 11-4 win on Sunday.

Jose Peraza also hit a two-run homer for last-place Cincinnati, which outscored San Francisco 18-5 in the last two games. Billy Hamilton tripled twice and drove in three runs.

The Reds also swept the Giants in Cincy last season. Nine different Reds scored at least one run, helping Cincinnati bounce back after it was swept by Cleveland.

"Sometimes it is when you play a club," interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "We had a hot Cleveland team, then we get a Giants team that's been struggling with the bats. We got them at the right time."

San Francisco had a chance to sweep Los Angeles before the Dodgers' 12-inning victory on Wednesday night. The Giants then managed just six runs in the sweep by the Reds, extending their slide to four games.

"It's frustrating," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "We didn't hit much, The offense didn't do anything here. We were hoping for more."

Giants left-hander Andrew Suarez (4-9) was tagged for seven runs, five earned, and seven hits in a season-low 2 2/3 innings in the finale.

"I got ahead," Suarez said. "I just couldn't put them away. I didn't have that putaway pitch today. I thought I had good stuff. The location wasn't there."

Giants infielder Chase d'Arnaud worked a scoreless eighth in his first career pitching appearance.

Suarez's career-best 27th homer made it 6-1 in the third. Scooter Gennett hit a two-run triple before Suarez's drive to center.

Curt Casali also had two hits and drove in two runs in Cincinnati's big inning.

"It was an awesome inning," Casali said. "I'm sure I've had two hits in an inning at some point in my career, but not in the big leagues. Any time you put up a crooked number against a club like that, it's important."

Reds right-hander Luis Castillo (7-10) struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings. He was charged with three runs, one earned, and six hits.

"Everything was working for me today," Castillo said. "I was commanding my changeup. My slider was good and I was throwing strikes. I think, like last year, I'm able to throw my pitches in any situation."

Castillo retired 13 straight batters before Stephen Duggar's two-out single in the seventh.

"You look at his velocity," Bochy said, "I don't know of anybody in the National League who throws harder on average, and his changeup was biting. He was on top of his game."

Peraza finished with three hits as Cincinnati closed out a 5-4 homestand. Phillip Ervin had two hits and scored a run.

NEW LOOK:
Brandon Belt became the first first baseman to lead off for the Giants since David Bell on July 6, 2002, at Arizona. Belt went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.

NEW FACE:
Aristides Aquino made his major league debut when he ran for Gennett in the sixth inning. Aquino was recalled from Double-A Pensacola on Friday when Joey Votto was placed on the 10-day disabled list.

TRIPLE HAPPY:
The Reds had three triples in one game for the first time since Hamilton, Peraza and Devin Mesoraco tripled against the Dodgers on June 17, 2017. Hamilton is the first Red with two triples in one game since Jay Bruce on May 2, 2015, at Atlanta.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Reds: OF Scott Schebler (strained AC joint in his right shoulder) is set for a rehab assignment with Double-A Pensacola. The Reds hope he will be ready to join them in Chicago during their weekend series with the Cubs.

UP NEXT:
Giants: LHP Derek Holland (6-8) makes just his second career start against the Mets in Monday's series opener in New York.

Reds: Homer Bailey (1-10) is scheduled to start Monday in Milwaukee. The Reds are 1-15 in Bailey's starts this season.