To begin his career as a San Francisco Giant, Carlos Rodón threw ten straight four-seam fastballs that were either 97 or 98 mph in game two of the opening home series with the Marlins. He struck out Jorge Soler and Garrett Cooper, then popped up Jesus Aguilar – ten pitches, three up, three down.
It was an auspicious beginning and it stayed good until the third, when he allowed an earned run on a wild pitch. Making a relationship with a new team, not to mention a young, new catcher like Joey Bart is not easy, and we had a month less time for pitchers and catchers this year. Marlins 1, Giants 0.
But this was a tight, hard-fought pitchers duel for five innings, when Rodón was matched by the Marlins’ Pablo Lopez, who also gave up only three hits and one earned run, but with six K’s. It was a fun, defensive National League match-up – DH be damned.
The Marlins manufactured a run off the wild pitch. The Giants managed to tie it in the bottom of the fifth, as Thairo Estrada singled and Steven Duggar doubled him in. Giants 1, Marlins 1.
With the game coming down to the bullpens it must be said that former Giant Steven Okert was brilliant for the Marlins. Okert struck out the side swinging in the bottom of the sixth! (Brandon Belt, Darin Ruf, Joc Pederson) and picked up Brandon Crawford swinging to start the seventh. Wow. Four straight Giants struck out swinging against Okert.
Run support for the Giants relievers was smothered by Okert and Cole Sulser, Richard Bleier and Anthony Bender, who followed and wrapped it up for the Marlins.
The Giants meanwhile couldn’t keep the Marlins from scoring the go-ahead, once our ace left. Jake McGee was sent out for his first duty this season in the sixth of a 1-1 game. He gave up a first-pitch double to Brian Anderson and was immediately in the stretch. McGee battled Jesus Sanchez to a full count, but gave up the RBI-single that would be the difference in this one. Marlins 2, Giants 1.
McGee battled back and got the red-hot Jacob Stallings to ground out, and Jon Berti to fly out to third, but both were productive outs, advancing Sanchez to ninety-feet away from home plate.
Gabe Kapler then made a great decision to turn the ball over to Camilo Doval, which was really good to see. He made him get right back out there despite the blown save the night before. Doval’s job was to find the location on his screaming fastball and to get the last out.
Doval walked Jorge Soler on four balls that weren’t close: cutter 97mph, slider 85, cutter 96, cutter 97. It felt like he was putting Soler on “intentionally” to work out the zone with Bart and to hurl some fastballs. He then induced a ground out from Garrett Cooper on two sliders. Camilo Doval proceeded to retire the side in order in the top of the eighth! He used the cutting fastball seven times and touched 99mph. It must have been a reassuring outing. Kap knows what he is doing.
Jose Alvarez came in for the ninth and had a base runner because of a rare throwing error by B-Craw, that put Brian Anderson on first. He then struck out Sanchez and induced a double play from Stallings to finish off Anderson and the ninth without further incident.
I have said before that win/loss doesn’t concern me here at GBC until sometime between May 15th and June 15th. This year that is especially true because the season started without a proper spring training season. It is most important, though, to observe small details of performances and Kap is making great decisions so far to allow that to happen.
That said, Jose Alvarez looks really good in this young season. The pairing of Jake McGee and Camilo Doval is responding well, and with bounce-back thus far. Kapler and co. are doing exactly what they did in ’21 and what they said they would do: just like last year, we will be using hella pitchers.
I like it. And as usual, I’m in.
Anthony DeSclafani will start the rubber match tomorrow.
Let’s Go Giants! Let’s win the first series of the year!