Giants turn to Carlos Rodon against Diamondbacks
Left-hander Carlos Rodon will make the first start of his career against Arizona on Monday evening when the reeling San Francisco Giants open a three-game series with the Diamondbacks in Phoenix.
Rodon (7-4, 2.62 ERA), who signed a two-year, $44 million free agent contract in March after pitching for the Chicago White Sox for seven seasons, has been one of the few bright spots lately for San Francisco.
He has gone 3-0 with a 1.25 ERA in six June starts and is coming off a 4-3 win over Detroit that saw him allow one run on seven hits over six innings while striking out four on June 28.
The Giants, who finished with the best record in the majors last season (107-55, .660) while finishing one game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West, are just three games over .500 (40-37) this season. They have lost four straight and are 3-10 over their last 13 games.
“I don’t think we’ve brought our best levels of energy to the ballpark over the course of the last couple of weeks,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “When that happens, I think it’s important to examine where we’re spending our energy.”
Kapler made those comments before the Giants suffered an ugly 13-4 loss to the visiting White Sox on Sunday.
“We didn’t play good baseball,” Kapler said. “Don’t know what else to say to you.”
Kapler said his team, which is in third place 8 1/2 games behind the Dodgers and five games behind second-place San Diego, isn’t ready to push the panic button.
“This is a group that, as individuals and collectively, have experienced adversity before,” he said. “So this is not new. It’s a challenge that I think we all take very seriously, but we’re not going to get bent out of shape and get super low because we have all individually and collectively experienced adversity before. This is part of baseball. This is what happens in a major league season.
“It’s not breaking us. It’s just part of the game.”
The Diamondbacks can relate. They’re 3-8 over their last 11 games and are coming off a 6-5 loss at Colorado on Sunday.
Arizona led 5-0 in the fifth after David Peralta hit a 452-foot grand slam.
Meanwhile, Zac Gallen held the Rockies hitless through five innings and came within one out of becoming the first visiting pitcher in the history of Coors Field to have back-to-back games of six or more shutout innings. He had tossed seven shutout innings in his previous start there on Aug. 21 last year.
But C.J. Cron spoiled that record try with the first of his two three-run homers. The second came in the bottom of the eighth off reliever Noe Ramirez for what proved to be the game-winner.
Arizona loaded the bases in the ninth on a double by Josh Rojas, an intentional walk to Peralta and another walk to Christian Walker. But Daniel Bard got Daulton Varsho to ground out to end the game.
“That’s a game as a ballclub, as a franchise, we should win that game 100 times out of a 100,” Gallen told MLB.com. “If this franchise wants to get to where I know it can get to and wants to get to, those are games you have to win. You cannot let those games get away.”
Left-hander Madison Bumgarner (3-8, 3.63 ERA), the 2014 World Series MVP for the Giants and one of the cornerstones of a San Francisco team that won three World Series (2010, 2012, 2014), will start for the Diamondbacks.
Bumgarner, who signed a five-year, $85 million free agent contract with Arizona in December 2019, is 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA in three career starts against his old club.
–Field Level Media