SAN FRANCISCO — Carlos Rodone took to the mound for the first time Saturday afternoon on “Rooster,” the seminal grunge track by Alice in Chains, and fired his warm-up pitches with the top button of his jersey fluttering in the wind from San Francisco . bay. As he walked away from it for the final time after the fifth inning, he leapt and pumped his fist and was soaked in a standing ovation from fans, who witnessed one of the most amazing pitching debuts in franchise history.
By the time his day was over, Rodone had hit a dozen Marlins, more than two other pitchers on his first start with the Giants, and swing and misses on more than a quarter of his 89 total pitches. were recorded. He did it all in five innings, while only allowing one run, but went blank in the decision as the Giants fought almost as hard to kill Marlins starter Pablo López.
Gifted by Rodone, neither the Giants’ bats nor their bullpen could back it.
The Giants set up a scoring rally to ensure that Rodden would not be saddened by the defeat, but could not muster a second in the seventh inning after Jake McGee was run-off by the Marlins.
Rodon’s luggage was so dirty that Joey Bart found it difficult to handle it behind the plate, causing the Marlins to score a single to the left-hander. Batting into nine holes, John Bertie reached an infield single in the third to score the first run of the game with a number of defensive flaws and handling of the pitch. Wilmer Flores airmailed the throw to first base, allowing Bertie to advance to second. He made it to third, then scored in the dirt on two pitches Bart couldn’t fight.
In the seventh, McGee surrendered the leadoff to third baseman Brian Anderson, who later became the deciding run batsman, when he was kicked home on a single by center fielder Jesus Sanchez.
Two games into the season, the Giants’ bullpen has already blown off two leads when Camilo Doval surrendered the home run in the ninth inning on Friday.
A rarity last season, the Giants rolled out the same lineup as of Opening Day. But when they scored six runs and made up for a blown lead late on Friday, the same group held on for just five hits and one run on Saturday.
Steven Duggar scored the Giants’ only run of the game on the fifth inning double, scoring Thyro Estrada, tying the game at 1 and guaranteeing Roden a no decision despite turning a gem on his Giants debut.
With 12 strikes in his Giants debut, Rodone joined the elite and exclusive company. The only other pitchers to match that number in their respective debuts were Juan Marichal (12 v. Philadelphia on July 19, 1960) and Cliff Melton (13 v. Boston on April 25, 1937) – and both pitchers had a total of nine. Shifts were required. It took just five frames to reach Rodan.
Rodone fired his first pitch to Miami leadoff man George Soler at 97 mph and didn’t throw a slow one until the second inning. He bowled 10 pitches in the first innings – all fastballs – and had two strikeouts. Then, almost as a sick joke, Avicel García started the next inning with four straight breaking balls, also swinging on an 85-mph slider.
He became the first pitcher since Carlos Carrasco in 2019 to record at least 12 strikes in five innings or less, ringing at least two batsmen in every innings and dismissing the team twice.
Of his 12 strikeouts, 11 came through swing and miss. He broke six with the fastball, five with his slider, and even the curveball to refine center fielder Sanchez to lead the fifth inning.
Rodon’s heater tops out at 98.9 mph. Fastball averaged 97.4 mph, notably two ticks higher than his average in any previous season.
As the rest of the Giants’ opening staff was coming off an intense spring training, Rodone was on a loose pitch boundary and counted 61 in the fifth inning. No pitcher in the statecast era (since 2008) has recorded more swings and misses (19) on those few pitches, and his total (24) in five innings has only been surpassed three times in the statecast era. The legendary pitcher has recorded that many only seven times at the start of any length.
But, after sending down the first two Marlins in fifth for punchouts 10 and 11, Rodone began to show signs of wear. The fastball never slowed down, but it started to miss in the zone. He issued back to back walks that placed runners first and second while his pitch counted higher.
On his 89th pitch, the crowd stood on their feet, then erupted when Rodden hit a 98 mph heater in front of Garrett Cooper for his 12th strikeout, ending the threat and their form as the San Francisco Giant. First outing happened.
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) April 9, 2022