Giants’ Rodríguez does enough vs. Cubs to warrant another start

NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO – In a perfect scenario, Bob Melvin would like not to have to use Randy Rodríguez as an opener again if he can avoid it. However, given the way the young 24-year-old right-hander pitched against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, the Giants manager admitted that he’s not entirely against doing so if the need arises.

Rodríguez, who had been pitching exclusively out of the bullpen, made his first MLB start in a non-traditional opener role. Rodríguez allowed one hit and one run in 2 2/3 innings, setting the tone on a night when the Giants’ relievers all came up big in a 5-1 win at Oracle Park.

“I’d prefer not to, but depending on how it goes down the road, yes,” Melvin said when asked if he had seen enough to consider Rodríguez for another start. “I was trying to get three [innings] out of him, but to give us more than one inning and get through the lineup one time in a bullpen-type day, yeah, I do have a lot of faith in him.”

Rodríguez hadn’t made a traditional start at any level since 2022. He made a pair of rehab starts in the Arizona Complex League a year ago, but wasn’t as crisp or sharp as he was in his debut as an MLB starter.

Rodríguez had five strikeouts and two walks while throwing a season-high 53 pitches against the Cubs. Afterward, Rodríguez indicated he was too happy to feel any tiredness.

“Maybe tomorrow when the adrenaline wears off, maybe I’ll be tired, but not right now,” Rodríguez said through interpreter Erwin Higueros.

The Giants’ starting rotation has been in flux the entire season, with several projected starters making multiple trips to the injured list.

As a result, Melvin has to do more mixing and matching than he expected. On Monday, Erik Miller was the opener. On Tuesday, Rodríguez got the call and gave an effort that was much-needed.

Using a steady mix of his four-seam fastball and a wicked slider that had the Cubs whiffing repeatedly, Rodríguez was on top of his game from the start. He threw 20 pitches that were clocked at 95 mph or faster, twice hitting the high 99s with the fastball.

Rodríguez was particularly nasty throwing his slider. He threw 30 of them against the Cubs, generating seven of his 10 swing-and-misses with the pitch.

“We’ve seen that this year, go from basically a fastball guy to a guy that is now throwing off-count sliders,” Melvin said. “He’s throwing some changeups too, which makes you a little bit more unpredictable. But it’s the fact that he can throw it in off counts. Early in the season, especially in the spring, he wasn’t able to do that.

“When you throw 100 mph, 98 mph, and you’re cracking off a slider in sometimes off counts, that’s why you’re going to see bad swings.”

As the Giants start to get some of their starters back – Blake Snell, Alex Cobb and Robbie Ray all should be coming off the IL in the coming weeks – Rodríguez likely will head back to the bullpen. He was 2-1 with a 4.82 ERA in while notching 31 strikeouts in 28 innings as a reliever before getting the start Tuesday.

While that’s his most likely destination, Rodríguez wouldn’t mind if he got another shot to start.

“Of course, I’m always ready for that,” he said.

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast

PHP Code Snippets Powered By :